When you think of a vicious dog bite or dog attack, are there any specific breeds that come to mind? Why do you think the breed that comes to mind among most people is the breed that most people think of? Media? Society and culture anxieties? Social media? Movies? What about facts? Are there areas of this topic and breed that go unseen and unknown to the public?
This page may have upsetting facts about dog bite statistics among Pitt Bulls and other known breeds and potentially controversial facts about Pit Bulls and other known breeds from how people respect and protect this breed’s reputation. Bisnar Chase personal injury attorneys do not take any particular side regarding perspectives on dog breeds.
Nurture vs nature; a common and highly controversial topic between dog owners, breeders, trainers, mothers, and fathers, which leads to the main question: Are Pit Bulls more dangerous than other dog breeds?
This page will cover the following:
Pit Bull Breed Resources
Pit Bulls: Controversial, Killer or Friend?
The Pit Bull community is very tight-knit and supportive in their shared love for their Pit Bull friends. From children to teenagers, adults to the elderly, people around the world are in love with their Pit Bull companions. But from the complete and polar opposite perspective, People say Pit Bulls are born to kill, focused on hunting and making the kill, unable to have compassion, and withhold urges to bite and attack, whether they are feeling threatened or not.
When you see the pictures and videos of young toddlers climbing over giant and impressively muscular Pit Bull adults without any concern from the parents or bystanders, how can it be true that Pit Bulls are unable to love and instead are, as many put it, “born killers; it’s in their DNA…”?
From our skilled and highly experienced California Dog Bite Lawyers, comes an informational reference page to offer the resources you can use to determine how you can perceive and better understand the Pit Bull breed. This page will cover statistical information, facts, and why different people’s opinions and standpoints mold how society, the media, and today’s culture view the Pit Bull breed.
Different Types of Pit Bulls
You may not be aware that all Pit Bulls are not just Pit Bulls, and in fact, there are many different types of Pit Bulls in the Pit Bull family:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Bully
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Originating from the United States of America, Ireland, and Great Britain, “Canis Lupus Familiaris,” is a breed that can be traced back to the early 1800s.
Where Did Pit Bulls Come From?
In the 1800s, lower-income individuals would gamble and battle their dogs against actual bulls. In 1835, the British Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals Act. This new act made it illegal for the baiting of animals like bulls and bears. Attention was turned towards “ratting.” The objective of ratting was to see who’s dog was able to catch and kill the most rats in a selectively confined space/arena, in the littlest amount of time.
Eventually, this led to the development of needing faster and more aggressive dogs in order to compete with the other dogs, finally evolving into the infamous realm of dogfighting.
These dogs were bred into the different types of the Pit Bull family, being trained and raised to fight, attack, and kill. Pit Bulls were introduced to America by immigrants bringing them to North America with them, but most of these “fighting dogs” were turned into working dogs, herding cattle, sheep, and protecting livestock from wolves and other predators.
At the beginning of the century, Pits maintained their popularity but evolved into working-class companions. Throughout WWII, America actually used the Pit Bull as their nation’s mascot, showcasing their loyalty and bravery as a key point of marketing and advertising strategies and techniques.
The Pit Bull has undergone many changes in its animal roles, created and idealized as a fighting dog for reputation and profit, turned war hero, retiring as a family dog. But soon, the Pit Bull would turn into a man-killing machine, in some people’s eyes, a step below the Great White shark on the list of predators.
The Working Dog, The Companion
After WWII, Pit Bulls came to be seen more and more as normal dogs. Underground dog fighting still existed, but not to the extent of before the war or back in Europe and the United Kingdom (UK).
As some Pit Bulls were and are bred for herding, hunting, or guardian purposes, the majority of these dogs are bred for pets and companionship. But why the sudden change?
Animal Welfare Act of 1976
The US Supreme Court passed the Animal Welfare Act of 1976 in 1976, making dogfighting illegal in all 50 states.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states:
“Summary: Enacted April 22, 1976, Public Law 94-279 is primarily refining previous regulations on animal transport and commerce. “Carrier” and “Intermediate Handler” are defined. Health certification prior to transport of sale is required and must be performed by a veterinarian. Licenses, method of payment, and penalties for violations are discussed. This amendment also introduces and defines “animal fighting ventures” to the Act. Animals used in hunting waterfowl, foxes, etc. are exempt. It is illegal to exhibit or transport via interstate or foreign commerce animals used in fighting ventures such as dogs or roosters.”
Are Dog Attack and Bite Reports Accurate?
With a high number of reports for larger dog breeds like Pit Bulls, the question is asked, how accurate are these numbers in relation to other breeds? What does this mean?
Attacks and bites from large dogs like Pit Bulls have a higher chance of resulting in a more serious injury, compared to a smaller dog, like a Jack Russell Terrier or chihuahua, which may only result in minor bruising, small puncture wounds, or minor lacerations.
If every dog bite was reported and documented, what would the numbers and statistics look like then? Would small breeds have the same or higher volume of attacks/bites than larger dogs? If they were, would that make smaller dog breeds more aggressive or hostile?
4 Pit Bulls kill a woman on her morning stroll; owner sentenced to 15 years to life:
In cases like the video below, some individuals use pit bulls and other “known aggressive breeds” to protect land, livestock and for other reasons, but when the handling of these dogs is negligent, catastrophic injuries and death can occur. The man in the video below was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder after his 4 pit bulls killed an elderly woman on a morning stroll.
Pit Bull Attack Statistics
It can’t be denied that Pit Bulls have been known for a high number of dog bites and attacks on humans and other animals. Many of these attacks have even killed and caused catastrophic injuries, resulting in permanent disabilities, high medical costs, and severe disfigurement.
According to an article by TIME, “Pit bulls make up only 6% of the dog population, but they’re responsible for 68% of dog attacks and 52% of dog-related deaths since 1982, according to research.”
The Real Problem Why Pit Bulls Attack
Many people do not consider the “why” Pit Bulls attack when discussing it – the group itself is often horribly abused. They learn the behavior of fight or flight because they are fearful, especially of humans. While you can find expensive Rottweilers and Dobermans selling for thousands, the Pit Bull is often abandoned, beaten, and trained to be violent.
The amount of Pit Bulls that have been used in overbreeding, trained to fight, and generally treated horribly by man is tragic and hard to undo. There may be fewer of them, but the number of them that have suffered abuse is why a large percentage have the propensity to attack. So much education and patience are needed to truly help and protect the breed and educate the public on the dangers of weaponizing this powerful dog.
Advocates for this breed are passionate about protecting them because they know the abuse to be rampant, and they’ve seen firsthand the horrors many of these dogs have been through. Once rehabilitated, they see an incredibly loving and loyal dog, which is the message they try to pass on in their advocacy programs.
Understandably, a person that has never been around a Pit Bull would be fearful because all the media shows are the attacks. All large breed dogs have the potential to be deadly, but none have faced as much abuse and hate as the Pit Bull.
Looking at Pit Bull Dog Bite Statistics More In-Depth
There are different perspectives on how the Pit Bull breed should be dealt with and perceived. Some think the breed should have more media coverage on the normalities of the Pit Bull breed in comparison to other well-known docile breeds, like the golden retriever, Labrador, and other popular family breeds.
Others will go as far as supporting Free sterilization programs for pit bulls, like the one run by the ASPCA. Here are some statistics on the Pit Bull breed:
- Over 50% of dog bites are from a Pit Bull
- Approximately 87% of pit bulls are aggressive in some form
- 56% of all U.S. fatal dog bites in the past 5 years were by Pit Bulls
- Only 20% of Pit Bulls are sterilized (neutered/spayed)
- Pits make up 63% of dogs put down in animal shelters
- Pits make up 38% of shelter admissions
- PETA stands by breed-specific sterilization
- Pitbull jaws do not “lock.” Most animals tend to hold onto their prey after biting it. Pitbull jaws are anatomically the same as all other dogs and show no evidence of locking
The “Pit Bull” breed represents 3 types of dog:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
To learn more about Pit Bull statistics, you can visit LiveScience.com/are-pit-bulls-dangerous
Other dangerous dog breeds include:
- Doberman Pinschers
- Chow Chows
5 Steps to Protecting Yourself from an Aggressive Pit Bull
It is impossible to read whether a dog is friendly or not. Sometimes dogs can look like they are friendly to strangers when really are planning to react aggressively, and sometimes dogs that are coming off aggressive are very friendly and want to lick you all over and get pets and affection.
Here are 5 steps you can take, according to an article on TheStranger.com, to protect yourself from an aggressive dog attack:
- Avoid Conflict: Avoiding strangers or unknown dogs is your best chance of avoiding a preventable attack. Don’t let children or those who make sudden, unexpected, or jerky movements around a pit bull. This could threaten, startle or initiate a factor of fear in the dog that could result in a defense or territorial response/attack/bite.
- Stand on a Car: Never turn your back to a dog, make eye contact, or run from a dog. This usually results in the dog chasing and attacking. If possible, stand, jump or climb to a higher surface that is difficult for the dog to get up onto, like a car, roof, shed, or fence. Putting a distance or gap between you and the aggressive dog can detour the animal, allowing time for the dog to lose interest, avoiding an attack. Calling for help can be effective if the dog is persistent and does not lose interest. Don’t lure others into your current dangerous situation, and warn bystanders of the nearby situation, so they avoid being attacked or mauled themselves.
- Cover Your Face & Play Dead: When in the situation of an unpreventable or uncontrollable attack, cover your face, and neck, and play dead. According to the article on TheStranger.com:
If there’s no car or any other higher-level handy, “don’t try to defend yourself, just protect yourself,” says Emily Keegans, behavior program manager at the Seattle Humane Society. “That basically means getting down on the ground, pulling your knees to your chest, clapping your hands behind your neck, putting your elbows around your face.” Wiley seconds this approach: “Stillness is the best thing. If a dog gets its teeth into you, fighting back can make things worse.”
- Use Defense Tools: Another step you can take towards protecting yourself in the event of a dog charge or dog attack is to be prepared with pepper spray. Cyclists, mail delivery personnel, law enforcement, joggers, and even students who walk to and from school are armed with this defensive and non-lethal spray. You can find pepper spray conveniently available on websites like amazon. Available products are inexpensive and reliable, such as SABRE Red Pepper Spray on a key chain for on-the-go efficiency.
- Take Any Means Necessary: There comes a point in any altercation when it needs to conclude. If playing dead or showing any form of retreat did not work, it’s time to fight for your life. Take any means necessary means do whatever it takes to save your life. Using objects you have or are able to get a hold of quickly can offer the biggest blow to the attacking dog. It sounds sad, but in a life-or-death situation, it matters. Some say if you can jam a closed fist into the mouth of an attacking dog, you can punch down into the throat until the dog begins to gag and realizes it cannot breathe. Using heavy or sharp objects to defend yourself and utilizing wrestling and MMA techniques can result in a positive outcome. All of these factors risk being bitten and injured more, but if done correctly, it could be the last bite the dog gets on you. Stay safe, stay alert, and stay alive.
Why Is Seeking Medical Attention Important after a Pit Bull Attack?
Pit bulls, any other breed of dog, and any other animal period have a chance of carrying diseases. If a dog bites you and draws blood or breaks the skin, you have a serious risk of contracting a disease, such as rabies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rabies is a preventable disease, often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.
Rabid animals can include and are not limited to raccoons, skunks, bats, foxes, dogs, and any other animals that have contracted the disease. Other animals such as your pet dogs and cats are at risk of contracting diseases if bitten by other animals that have a disease.
Once bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Whether you call 911, EMS, ambulance services or drive to the nearest hospital, emergency room, urgent care of medical clinic, wounds need to be cleaned, sterilized, treated, and made sure that your immediate health is not in danger.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, test results, and doctors’ recommendations, treatments for dog and animal bites can be extensive, lasting weeks, even months of consistent care, sometimes daily.
Another risk factor of being attacked by a dog or animal is extensive bleeding. If the dog or animal bites you and breaks an artery, vein, or delicate area, you run the risk of bleeding out or experiencing serious medical issues and injuries.
Tourniquets can be used if needed, especially for arterial bleeding. If a tourniquet is not available, a belt, wire, leash, ripped up t-shirt, or some sort of item that can be wrapped around the injured area, tied tightly to put pressure on the area to slow or hopefully stop the bleeding until medical attention arrives.
Documenting Your Dog Bite Injuries
Another fantastic aspect of seeking medical attention is the fact your injuries will be professionally documented in association with your dog bite or attack incident. If you ever plan on taking legal action, not having your injuries documented can become a massive issue.
Once you are in the litigation process and are unable to prove that your injuries happened when they happened, associate your injuries to the incident and make links tying everything together into one experience readily available for the court, mediators, insurance adjusters, lawyers, and attorneys, you have a high chance of losing your case.
If you want to take legal action, make sure you have everything you need to win a case.
If You've Been Attacked & Are Seeking Compensation
Experiencing a traumatic dog bite incident can leave the victim or victims in a mess of financial obligation, medical bills, unable to work, and can destroy lives. Don’t assume you will win your case, just because you know yourself, you were bitten by a dog. Be prepared, and don’t let the opportunity slip out of your hands. Compensation can be yours if you take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention
- Document your injuries
- File a police report
- Take photos/video of your injuries, animals involved, animal owners, etc.
- Photos/video of the location the incident took place
- Eye-witness testimonies, eye-witness contact information, etc.
- Be organized: Date, time, location, those involved, the outline of what happened, what initiated the incident, etc.