Number of dog bite fatalities in the United States: 2005 – 2015
Current Year: 1 (updated 1/9/15)
I direct the reader to the dog bite fatality page on Wikipedia for more comprehensive information on this topic.
Below, I will state the general concerns I have with regard to the reporting of statistics on fatal dog attacks by others on some websites.
- First, some authors have strong biases against the pit bull type dogs. As such, these authors present dog bite fatality data that are “cherry picked” for the purposes of promoting a campaign which unquestionably demeans pit bull type dogs. Such bias reporting obviously negatively affects the perception lawmakers and others have for pit bull type dogs. It appears that some webmasters have as their life mission to demean the pit bull as much as possible and they use their website as a tool to accomplish this end. Clearly some, but not all pit bulls, are be dangerous by nature. Unfortunately, some webmasters choose to ignore the fact that not all pit bulls are dangerous by nature. Many honorable Americans have owned pit bulls as pets, including Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, and many others.
- Second, the accuracy of data on fatal dog attacks depends entirely on the validity and accuracy of facts about the incident as reported in news stories by the journalists who write the stories. Webmasters depend on this information to create the content on their sites, yet the extent to which the information published is independently verified by these authors remains dubious. Generally, the information is taking on face value. This may be problematic for a number of reasons. Particularly significant is the information reported about the breed of dog involved. Occasionally, mistakes in correctly identifying the breed of dog(s) involved in a fatal attack happen (see problems with pit bull terrier identification). Likewise, other data collection techniques (animal control reports, police reports, witness observation) used for breed identification purposes in fatal dogs attack investigations may be flawed because of problems inherent with accurate breed identification through visual means.
- Third, because mistaken breed identity may occurs, numbers may be inflated for certain kinds of dogs, such as pit bull type dogs.
- Fourth, it is important to note that a pit bull is not a breed of dog. Instead, the term “pit bull” only describes a dog that has an appearance similar to a American Pit Bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier. In some cases a dog identified as a pit bull, based on its physical appearance, may be genetically similar to the American Staffordshire Terrier (AKC recognized) or an American Pit Bull (UKC recognized), but in other cases the dog is genetically dissimilar.
- Fifth, the reader should note the incidences of fatalities listed on any website may not represent every case in the United States where death was caused by a dog attack. It is conceivable that some fatal dog attacks in the United States go unreported, particularly in rural areas.
Finally, the fatalities reported on many websites may not be a direct result of injuries sustained from a dog attack. For example, in some dog bite fatalities the primary cause of death is secondary to bite injuries caused by an attack. Examples include caradic arrest, freezing to death after falling unconscious following an attack, rabies, septicaemia, infection or falling on head as a result of being attacked. For example, I recall a reported incident in March 2010 incident in Lucknow, South Carolina involving a 65-year-old lady. Several websites reported this as a dog bite fatality caused by a pit bull attack, but subsequently the autopsy indicated a fatal heart attack was the primary cause of death (presumably from the stress of the attack). Also, note that a human fatality can be caused by the behavior of a dog that does not involve aggressive intent (e.g. smothering). Click here for medical perspective on the causes of death as a direct result of the dog attack.
Related content on fatal dog bites
- Factors affecting fatal dog attacks
- Forecast for fatal dog attacks in 2015
- Criminal prosecutions of fatal dog attacks
- What causes death from a dog bite?
- Breeds of dog involved in fatal attacks in the USA between 1979- 1998 (PDF)
- Brief report of a fatal attack by a predatory dog on an infant
- Irony of fate in fatal dog mauling in Slavonia
- Human killed by wolf in Alaska
- Pit bull breed identification test
- Family pit bull kills woman in California
- Why the high rate of fatal dog attacks in Texas?
- Fatal dog attack on indian reservation in Canada
- Montel Williams show discusses dangerous dogs and fatal dog attacks
- Fatal dog attack in Nevada triggered by possessive aggression
- Fatal dog attacks hit record levels in California in 2013
- Fatal dog attacks in the United States 2005
- fatal dog attacks in United States 2006
- Fatal dog attacks in the United States 2007
- Fatal dog attacks in the United States 2008
- Fatal dog attacks in the United States 2009
- 87-year-old man in Maryland first dog bite fatality victim in 2015
- Fatal dog attack in California inflicted on infant in bassinet by Pomeranian
- Fatal dog attack by pack of dogs
- Fatal dog attacks on infants on swings
Dr. Polsky is in animal behavior dog bite specialist located in Los Angeles, California. He has been retained as an expert by attorneys on hundreds of occasions and also in several high profile dog bite fatality cases throughout the United States, including the well-publicized San Francisco dog mauling. Dr. Polsky welcomes inquiries from attorneys.