Friday, January 2, 2015

Dog attack report - 2014 year end

As the last of the year end reports rolled in, the record keepers have published the final 2014 update of the report on dog attacks, by breed. In a continuing trend well known to those who are paying attention to such details, pit bull type dogs have dominated the grisly contest as never before.

Savage pit bull attack on 6 year old  Zainabou Drame

During the entire history of the US up until the 1980s, fatal dog attacks were exceedingly rare. Years would pass with no incidents. But beginning in the 1980s, when pit bulls began to be aggressively pushed as family pets, fatal and disfiguring dog attacks on humans have been rising dramatically. In looking at the data, one makes the remarkable discovery that, if one could somehow remove pit bull attacks from the equation, we would be back to a 1960s level of dog attack related fatalities.

Zainabou Drame, 6 months after the attack

This of course flies in the face of the nonsensical mantra spouted by pit bull supporters that breed is not a factor. What is eminently clear to anyone who takes even a casual glance is that breed is by far the most significant determinant of risk.

A bloody aftermath: how much is enough?

It is an oft-repeated myth that pit bull attacks are a result of thugs, drug dealers and dog fighters mistreating these poor, misunderstood dogs, and "training" them to attack. So, just to be completely clear, we'll reiterate that the report does not include attacks by any dogs falling into that category:

"Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs, and dogs trained specifically to fight" are excluded.

A look at the individual cases makes it alarmingly clear that the majority of pit bull attacks on humans are from well-treated "family pit bulls" - and in most cases, as a sudden, prolonged and relentless surprise attack.

Rest in peace dear one

In the month of December, 41 people suffered serious attacks by pit bulls, 22 were maimed or disfigured for life, and 2 were mauled to death. One of those deaths was a Christmas day mauling by a well treated, loved and trusted pit bull in what has been called yet another "freak accident". I always thought of a freak accident as something which happens rarely if ever. For example, if a man were somehow killed by his Irish Setter, that would be a freak accident.  Sadly, pit bull attacks do not fall into that category, as Americans are suffering serious or fatal pit bull attacks daily, and proud pit bull owners and rescuers continue to be killed by their beloved pets. 

There was one other fatality in December, from a Rottweiler. There were no serious attacks by any of the other breeds listed in the top 5.

Animal lovers note - as bad as the toll of pit bull violence against humans may be, the horrific violence visited by it bulls upon defenseless animals is orders of magnitude worse in terms of sheer numbers. One can get an idea of the scope of the problem here: How many animals did pit bulls kill last year? Victims like this poor horse are numerous:

The full report which tallies the North American dog attacks by breed on humans since 1982 can be read in full here: Dog attack report 20141231