Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, Ph.D. CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

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Dog bite survey in Colorado shows few dogs bite people

The recent forum held in Denver sponsored by The Coalition for Living Safely With Dogs, reports results from a year long survey taken throughout Colorado about the number of dogs involved in dog bite incidents . The survey was USA State Map Coloradotaken from July 2007 to July 2008, and covered 17 “districts” in Colorado, including the Denver area; El Paso and Weld counties; and some Western Slope counties.

There were approximately 700,000 dogs in the study area, and a total of 2060 bites were reported, approximately one bite for every 350 dogs, less than 1% of the total population studied. According to coalition member the data indicate that “any dog can bite, but most don’t.”

Labrador retrievers were the breed most frequently involved in biting incidents, accounting for 13.3% of the total reported bites, followed by pit bulls (8.4%), German shepherds (7.8%), Rottweilers (3.9%), and Chows (3.5%)

This data should not be interpreted suggesting that Labrador retrievers are the dogs that bite people most frequently, because the total number of labs in the population could not be determined. By chance alone, one would expect higher bite frequencies in labs simply because of their popularity. On the other hand, for example, the total population of Chows may not represent 3.5% of the population, yet they account for 3.5% of the total reported dog bites, thus suggesting the frequency of biting in this breed is disproportionately high.

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