Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dog attack report by breed - Aug 2014

We've been busy lately with some other "big picture" activities, but with the summer of 2014 beginning to wind down, it's about time to publish a current version of the statistics on serious and fatal dog attacks. 

Since the previous summer report in June of last year, 39 people have been mauled to death by pit bulls; an additional 737 have been maimed or disfigured. Attacks from all other breeds combined are but a small fraction of that number.

One of the lucky ones - pit bull attack survivor Lorrie George
In reaction to these reports, there are invariably accusations, denials, and questions from pit bull advocates who are angered by the identification of breed in the attack data, and who charge that the media reports are all based on hearsay, that nobody can identify a pit bull, etc. So it's helpful to share an excerpt from the report here:
Compiled by the editor of ANIMALS 24-7 from press accounts since 1982, this table covers only attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, who have been kept as pets. All accounts are cross-checked by date, location, and identity of the victim.  Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs, and dogs trained specifically to fight are also excluded. 
What does this mean, in practical terms? Well, first of all, it means that the breed identification is fairly reliable. It also means that the attacks counted in this report did not come from fighting dogs or guard dogs, but were, for the most part, committed by family pets. The only anomaly in that regard affects Huskies, as many of the Huskies involved in the recorded attacks were actually semi-feral sled dogs, raising the numbers above what would normally be expected.

Here is a graphical summary from the report, listing the 5 breeds most involved in serious attacks on humans. As you can see, pit bulls remain the top offenders, and all other breeds combined don't come close to their level of violence.

You may access the full report here


  1. I didn't realize that the numbers included things like a dog running into a bicyclist, or knocking someone over, who later died from a related injury or infection. Knowing this stuff made sense of some of the stats. Also, seeing the rabid dog attacks, and these accidents, as the only DBRFs attributed to a breed, is telling.

    WOW- the numbers for pits are scary. Whty do people deny this stuff?

    I also never knew much about wolf hybrids, but did se one at a STREET FAIR, on a campus! OMG. What is wrong with people? It almost attacked a golden retriever my kids were petting.

  2. I didn't know that pit bulls attack people more than other breeds of dogs. I think this is really interesting. However, I don't think it's really fair to blame the breed. Some times dogs just naturally have a bad temperament, but I think a lot of a dog's temperament has to do with how they are treated by people. When we look at graphs like this, we just see numbers and not context. Also, what years do these numbers represent?

  3. @Amelia Heartwright -

    I'm not sure what you mean by "not fair to blame the breed" , but if you're interested in finding someone to blame, blame the sadists who created this breed to get their jollies watching bull dogs commit atrocities against animals.

    With regard to temperament, that's completely beside the point. I know a number of people who used to own pit bulls, and each of them told me what a great temperament their pit bull had. Then pibble turned on and did what pibbles were bred to do, tail wagging, while they tortured their screaming victim. And pibble would often act completely normal, friendly and docile, after torturing a victim to death. And no wonder, it feels good to pibble to do the work it was bred to do.

    So it's really not about temperament. You might abuse a lab, and make it "mean" or even "aggressive", with a very poor temperament. But no matter what you do, a lab will never, ever be the relentless torturer that the pit bull was created to be.

    From a quick peek at the report you are asking about (available above) the data has been collected from 1982 to present. What jumps out at me is how rare canine inflicted deaths used to be. The number began rising sharply in the 1980s, exactly in line with the increased number of pit bulls being promoted as family pets. Another sharp increase in fatal or disfiguring attacks began after the Vick dogs were "rescued".

    What stands out like a flashing neon sign, if you look at the breakdown of the attacks, is this: If you remove pitbulls from the equation, we're back to 1960s levels of fatal or disfiguring dog attacks, and that would be much more manageable than the mess we have now.

  4. Breaking news: Another child mauled to death by "family pit bull" - Child mauling death

  5. Amelia Heartwright states,
    "I didn't know that pit bulls attack people more than other breeds of dogs."
    This is part of the problem. Popular media hides the issue of pit bull attacks. It is actually under-reported in the news, while rescues try to paint a rosier picture to get their dogs adopted out. If you don't look specifically at sights such as this there is no way to get the real picture. When attacks are reported in the news they are often played down (an attack on another dog is a dog fight, a disfiguring mauling on a child is called a dog bite) and the breed is misrepresented (see article on the child killed yesterday in Miami-Dade county). As hard as it is to believe, there are a lot of people out there that have absolutely no idea how serious the problem is.


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