Monday, September 12, 2016

Serious dog attacks: 34 full years of data

In September of 1982, animal advocate Merritt Clifton first began logging and tracking disfiguring and fatal dog attacks on humans, collecting information on the type of attacking dog in each case, and the circumstances surrounding each attack.

Now, after 34 years, we are more well informed as a result of his undertaking, especially in the light of the CDC decision in 1998 to suddenly cease the collection or tracking of any data whatsoever pertaining to the attacking breed.

Despite this, and owing to the careful collection of such data by Merritt and other NGOs, it has become clear to anyone who examines that relevant data, that of all possible criteria to be considered in the question of dangerous dogs, the breed of dog is the single most significant determinant of risk, outweighing all other factors combined by a considerable ratio.

Prior to the 1980s, pit bull attacks were rare, as pit bulls were for the most part owned only by dog fighters. But during the 1980s, we began to see pit bulls cast as "victims" and re-branded as "family pets". The results have been bad for human victims, and absolutely disastrous for animal victims of pit bull violence.

The collected data reveals clear trends, including the fact that violence from pit bull outpaces all other breeds combined, and it has gotten worse over time. 

Before the 1980s, fatal dog attacks were extremely rare. Since then, during the period where pit bulls were still rare in normal communities, the numbers of attacks from pit bulls were growing, but the number of serious attacks from other breeds e.g. Rottweilers, were also of concern. After some 3 decades of relentless, extremely well financed pit bull advocacy, pit bulls are fairly common, and as a result, we are expected to accept the daily occurence of disfiguring and fatal pit bull attacks as the new normal.

Here are the top 5 offenders over the past 34 years, by breed:

Top 5 offenders by breed, 1982-2016

One significant trend is not immediately obvious from the 34 years of accumulated data, but if one looks strictly at the past 5 years, it appears with startling clarity. In terms of harm done to humans, pit bulls easily top this list, and Rottweilers are the 2nd breed. But a simple ranking does not convey the scope of the difference: over the past 5 years, pit bulls have committed 25 times as many serious attacks as Rottweilers, killed over 12 times as many people as Rottweilers, and permanently maimed over 34 times as many people as Rottweilers.

Here are the top 5 offenders over the past 5 years:

Top 5 offenders by breed, 2011-2016

One can't help but be alarmed at the fact that pit bulls continue to widen their lead over not only Rottweilers, but all other breeds combined.

And bear in mind that the problem of pit bull violence against animals is much, much worse - thousands of times worse. Watch this space for future reports on that unfortunate state of affairs.

The level of tolerance for purpose bred torturers in our communities is growing thin, despite the nonstop propaganda from the pit bull lobby, who are unwilling and/or unable to take responsibility for this growing problem, and at some point it's all going to blow up.

May you live in interesting times.

You may examine the full 34 year report here

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