From 2005 Through 2019, Canines Killed 521 Americans; 66% Of Those Deaths Were Caused by Pit Bulls
In recent years, Pit Bull advocacy groups have gained traction in their efforts to persuade the public that pit bulls are not as dangerous as once thought. “Badrap.org” claims that Pit Bulls are “no more vicious than Golden Retrievers, Beagles or other popular dogs!”(1) In 2016, author Kevin Vicente argued in the National Geographic that “there’s no science” that supports many countries’ bans on Pit Bulls as a dangerous breed.(2)
Perhaps as a cumulative result of these efforts, from 2015 to 2017, Pit Bulls comprised about 6.5% of the total U.S. dog population, representing a 63% rise since the 3-year period of 2010 to 2012, when the total U.S. Pit Bull population was estimated to be 4%.(3) On November 3, 2020, Denver voters repealed a longstanding ban on Pit Bulls. A new law took its place requiring Pit Bull owners to register and microchip their dogs. The law also limited ownership to two Pit Bulls per household.
However, recent findings indicate that Pit Bulls are substantially more dangerous than any other dog breed. From 2011 to 2020, 14 peer-reviewed medical studies from level 1 trauma centers in the United States all reported similar findings: Pit Bulls inflicted more injuries than all other breeds of dogs.(4) Furthermore, 12 of the 14 studies reported that Pit Bulls inflicted the most severe injuries; in that the injuries required a higher number of operative interventions. In fact, the number of operative interventions required after Pit Bull attacks was five times higher than from all other dogs.
DogBites.org conducted a 15-year study from 2005 to 2019, analyzing fatal dog attacks by breed. Pit Bulls contributed to 66.4% of all deaths by canines.(5) The next-closest breed was the Rottweiler, which contributed to only 9.8% of all fatalities. A 13-year data set showed that 48% of fatality victims were 9 years old or younger.(6) Of all age groups, children 0-2 had the most victims: 27%.
Despite advocacy efforts aimed at increased Pit Bull ownership, many cities, perhaps cognizant of these statistics, maintain outright bans on Pit Bulls, as well as laws regulating Pit Bull ownership. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, for example, there is a “refutable presumption” that Pit Bulls are dangerous dogs. Dog of other breeds are “potentially dangerous” only when they attack, and the Court finds “by clear and convincing evidence” that the attack:
“caused bodily injury… to a person during an unprovoked attack and poses a serious threat of bodily injury or death to a person or killed another domestic animal and poses a threat of serious bodily injury or death to a person; or poses a threat of death to another domestic animal or has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or encouraged to engage in unprovoked attacks upon person or domestic animals.”
Atlantic City Ordinance § 121-41. Iowa has the most Pit Bull bans, with 72 cities outright banning ownership of the dog.(7)
Dog Bites Are More Prevalent in Cities
It appears that, in general, while pet ownership may be more common in rural areas, dog bites are more prevalent in urban areas. A study conducted by the University of Guelph in Canada found that, among households in rural areas, 6% had at least one person bitten by a dog in the previous year, while urban households had nearly 11%.(8) This is perhaps due to the fact that cities have more condensed populations, making interactions with others’ dogs more likely. Nonetheless, city goers should be more aware of the danger that others’ dogs may present.
Dog Owners May Be Found Liable for the Injuries Their Pets Cause
Pet owners are legally responsible for their pets and the injuries they cause. If your dog causes an injury to another person, you may be held legally responsible for your dog’s actions. A pet owner should be aware of his or her dog’s conduct and propensities. All dogs can pose a danger to others if improperly trained, treated, or restrained. Some dogs which exhibit aggressive behaviors may need to be professionally treated by a veterinarian. In order to prevent serious and deadly dog bites from occurring, dog owners should follow these rules:
- Consider formal dog training;
- Follow all leash laws in your county;
- Install a fence around your yard;
- Remain in control of your dog at all times;
- Spay or neuter your dog; and
- Aggressive dogs require extra training and care.
Dog bite injuries can be severe and can quickly become infected. They can cause permanent disfigurement, broken bones, lacerations, infections, and even amputations. When a serious dog bite occurs, you need an experienced and skilled dog bite attorney on your side to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a dog, it is important to understand the potential severity of these injuries. The dog bite injury attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 100 years of experience handling personal injury claims which includes representation of dog bite victims and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties, as well as in the State of New Jersey. Please call us today; 1-855-633-6251 (Toll Free) or 215-568-1510 (Pennsylvania) or 856-380-3999 (New Jersey) or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.