Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”


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Movement on bicycle possible trigger to dog bite attack on 10-year-old girl in Kentucky

The predatory aggressive behavior of dogs is frequently triggered by movement of children on skateboards, roller blades, and bicycles. Predatory aggressive behavior is probably more common in dogs developed for herdings, such as border collies and Australian shepherds, but it can happen in other breeds.

A case in point is a 10-year-old girl who was attacked by two pit bull dogs while riding her bicycle in December 2011 in Louisville Kentucky.  The victim claims the dogs came out of nowhere and started pulling on her legs and arms, and this caused her to fall from her bicycle. She escaped from the dogs by jumping into a nearby truck. A relative who happened to be nearby heard the commotion and chased the dogs away without incident. The injuries the child sustained, fortunately, were non-threatening.

What happened in this dog bite incident is common to the fact pattern of many dog bite incidences. For example, the dogs escaped from a neighbor’s yard, a child was the victim, and the victim was moving in some fashion. For example, the dogs escaped from a neighbor’s yard, a child was the victim, and the victim was moving in some fashion.  However, what is unusual here is that the extents of the victim’s injuries were not greater given that there were two pit bulls were involved. An attack by a group of pit bulls on a young child can easily lead to severe injury, or a dog bite fatality. Dog bite statistics clearly indicate that children and the elderly are the victims in most fatal dog bite attacks. Here, this 10-year-old girl was lucky she did not sustain greater injury. This may because the pit bull dogs were young, as reported by online news sources, and maybe naïve in the display of aggression to people. Animal behavior theory postulates that a dog’s experience in displaying aggression to people may contribute to severe dog bite attack.