The animal people have been updating their comprehensive dog attack report, and we thought it might be informative to share the latest stats and take a look at the trends and differences from the report we shared last year.
The most obvious trend shows pit bulls continue to increase the distance between themselves and other types of dogs, widening their lead as the number one killer. Since last year's report, 25 Americans were killed by pit bulls and close pit mixes, bringing the total to 226 mauled to death by pit bull since Sept 1982.
This continues the upward trend in violent pit bull attacks over previous decades. Rottweilers were responsible for 2 deaths during the same period; most breeds caused zero fatalities, and a handful of breeds each caused a single fatality.
Pit bulls and close mixes also increased their huge lead in non-fatal attacks on humans with 230 documented attacks causing serious bodily injury since last year's report. Unfortunately a great many, perhaps most, pit bull attacks go unreported, so what we're seeing here is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg.
It's important to consider not only those who died from pit bull attacks, but also those who have suffered life-changing injuries, maiming and disfigurements. Just because someone survives a pit bull attack does not make everything fine. The physical and mental damage from a mauling stays with a person for the rest of their life, adversely affecting the quality of that life.
When a pit bull attacks it is typically not a quick fatal bite, but rather a prolonged mauling, pulverizing and macerating of whatever part of the victim it happened to clamp down on. If a pit bull attack victim cries out for help and others come to his aid, it is possible to cause enough damage to the attacking pit bull to pause or redirect its attack, giving the victim a chance for emergency treatment. If help does not come, the pit bull continues to maul the victim, tearing flesh from bone, and after 20 minutes or more of this torture, the victim mercifully loses consciousness. Death follows after further mauling, blood loss and tissue damage.
Here are highlights of the 30 year study of serious dog attacks -