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March 2, 2023

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Currently, nearly 90 million dogs in the United States live in over 60 million households. While the canine is considered man’s best friend, in recent years, thousands of lives have been lost when people could not protect themselves during horrific dog attacks.

Were you injured or lost a loved one in a brutal animal attack? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can help.

Contact our dog bite lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) to schedule a free consultation. We can help recover compensation in dog-related injury claims.

Statistics about dog bites and attacks

Dog Bites Injuries and Attacks Statistics

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control And Prevention) [1] estimates that nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur yearly in America, resulting in 800,000 emergency department visits.
  • Approximately 80% of all dog bite victims suffered no injuries or minor injuries, not requiring medical care.
  • The chance of dying from an animal attack or dog bite is higher than one in 112,000.
  • Nearly all police reports documenting dog bites involved unneutered and unspayed canines.
  • According to dog bite statistics, one out of every 73 adults and children sustained dog bite injuries in 2019 out of the US population of nearly 330 million people.
  • Dog bite statistics show that dogs attacked nearly 5,800 letter carriers in 2018, or about 10% less than in 2017.
  • Approximately 78% of all dog bite fatalities involved females in 2018, the highest reported year for women and girls.
  • More than thirty dog breeds were involved in dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) in 2018.
  • Pit Bulls cause 4.4 times more complex wounds than other top-biting breeds.
  • Dog bite victims are 2.7 times more likely to be bitten by Pit Bull-type dogs off their property.
  • Acquiring and dying from rabies [2] is uncommon in communities that require animal rabies vaccinations.
  • Dog bite statistics show that dogs are more likely to bite children and adults.
  • Dogs are more likely to bite males than females.
  • Most dog bites involve dogs who are not spayed or neutered.
  • Approximately 33% of all dog bite injuries include children three years old and younger.
  • Nervous and anxious human behavior increases the potential of getting bitten by dogs.
  • Dog bite statistics reveal that more than 75% of all dogs are breeding, guarding, or fighting.
  • The changes in human behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic increased dog attacks by 300%.
  • Dogs vaccinated against rabies by a local veterinarian can prevent liability issues with dog bite-related claims for owners.
  • A dog closing its mouth and curling its lip could indicate aggressive behavior and the possibility that they are about to attack.

What Causes Dog Attacks?

Nearly all animals attack when they feel threatened and use their teeth to protect any item they deem valuable, like a toy or food. Other times, dogs bite humans when they feel unwell or are sore or sick from an illness or injury and want to be left alone.

Some dogs bite and nip during play, especially when playing tug-of-war or wrestling with humans. These activities tend to over-excite the dog.

Startling or scaring a dog can make them feel threatened or react to a stressful situation, leading to them defending its territory or itself.

Unpredictable human behaviors, including startling the animal, teasing the dog, yanking a paw, tugging fur, or pulling the tail, could provoke the animal to attack.

Responsible owners will train their dogs not to bite [3] through socialization that helps the pet adjust to varying situations, including being around other humans, animals, and puppies. Keeping a dog on a leash in public helps ensure the owner controls every situation where the family dog interacts with other dogs.

Pit Bull Attack Statistics

Pit Bulls account for less than 6% of the US dog population. However, the dog breed is responsible for causing 68% of all dog bite injuries and over 50% of all fatal dog attacks recorded since 1982.

Some dog breeds advocates and pet advocacy organizations suggest that Pit Bulls are not treated fairly and are blamed for more dog attacks than other breeds. There may be some merit in suggesting that any breed could be aggressive if handled by irresponsible owners.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) [4], the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and multiple peer-reviewed studies have concluded that a dog’s breed does not determine aggression, bite strength, or risk. Yet breed-specific legislation exists in many states.

Every fatal dog attack is tragic, however, most dog-related injuries and fatalities result from human-controlled factors specific to the incident’s circumstances.

Other Animal Statistics

Other animal bite statistics included:

  • Dog bite statistics show that Pit Bulls in the United States were involved in 33 of 48 dog bite-related fatalities in 2019
  • Pit Bull’s victims are 2.5 times as likely to have dog bites in multiple locations compared to other dog breeds
  • Only 20% of Pit Bull owners spay or neuter their pets, even though the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers numerous free sterilization programs
  • Attacking Pit Bulls caused 62% of the dog bite deaths involving their pet owner between 2015 and 2019
  • Over 62% of Pit Bull owner death involved a mauling by their dog in 2019
  • More than 345 Pit Bull fatal attacks occurred between 2005 and 2019, and more than 50% involved the death of family members
  • Between 2005 and 2019, state prosecutors filed criminal charges against 20% of canine owners involved in animal bite fatalities, while 76% of those cases involved Pit Bulls
  • Pit Bulls are responsible for up to 63% of all dog bite injuries, including eye injuries
  • Pit Bull Terriers are involved in one-third of dog bite cases, causing serious injuries requiring surgical intervention
  • Pit Bulls are more than 31% more likely to bite an unknown individual and 48% more likely to bite without provocation than other breeds
  • Attacking Pit Bulls have higher morbidity rates in a higher risk of dying than when being bitten by other breeds
  • Animal bite researchers reveal that death is 16 times more likely to occur when attacked by two or more Pit Bulls than by other breeds
  • A Pit Bull commonly displays temperament issues based on the American Temperament Test
  • Statistics show that Pit Bulls were responsible for 85% of adult deaths in 2019 fatal dog attacks
  • Data revealed that Pit Bull fatalities involve every age group compared to other dog breeds that primarily kill adults fifty years and older and children under two years of age
  • Many states and countries have banned owning Pit Bulls, with breed-specific legislation
  • Illegal dog fighting is the cause of abuse for many Pit Bulls
  • Different breeds of chained dogs cause approximately 25% of all fatal attacks

Dog Bite Injuries

According to the National Institutes of Health [5], many victims of dog bites receive care in emergency departments, with rabies injections and hospitalization. Their injuries often result in extreme pain, emotional distress, infection risks, disfiguration, and bodily dysfunction at the injury site.

Other dog bite injury statistics include:

  • Hospital admission records show that approximately 43% of victims of dog bites required hospitalization and received medical attention for an infection of the skin and underlying tissue
  • About 24.5% of all hospitalized dog bite patients suffered injuries ranging from blood poisoning to bone fractures
  • Approximately 22% of all hospitalized dog bite patients had arm or leg wounds
  • Nearly 10.5% of animal bite victims were wounded on the torso, neck, and head

Dog Bite Victims

Victims often experience that the mental and emotional trauma of a violent animal attack is often more challenging to recover from than physical injuries.

Many victims suffering from dog bites have an increased potential risk of developing an infection if the dog’s saliva [6] contains parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

There is a significant risk of rabies in dogs that have yet to be vaccinated. Without immediate and recurring injections, a rabies virus can cause death.

The young, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems often find it more challenging to heal from an animal bite that could cause long-term health problems.

Common Injuries

The most common injuries associated with horrific dog bite attacks include:

  • Deep cuts and lacerations
  • Loss of blood
  • Muscle, tendons, and ligament damage
  • Wound infections
  • Neck and spinal cord damage
  • Crushed bones
  • Fractures
  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Brain trauma caused by falling

The length of time needed to heal is based on the wound’s severity, the victim’s current health status, and the recommended treatment. The doctor may sometimes clean and stitch the victim’s wounds before applying bandages.

Other times, the victim may be severely injured and suffer a fractured bone in the leg or arm, spinal cord damage, or traumatic brain injury if the animal knocks them to the ground on a concrete sidewalk. The doctor may order a battery of diagnostic tests and perform one or more surgeries.

An animal attack requiring medical attention and treatment can be expensive. The healing from an animal attack can also result in a loss of income, especially if the victim cannot return to work. The dog’s owner is legally liable to pay for any animal bite damages typically acquired through an insurance claim or civil lawsuit.

Fatal Dog Attacks

The dog breeds that were most likely to be involved in dog bites or dog bite deaths include:

  • American Bulldog
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bull Terrier
  • Bulldog [7]
  • Bullmastiff
  • Chihuahua
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Great Dane
  • Husky
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff
  • Mixed Breed
  • Papillion
  • Pekingese
  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Bernard
  • Wolf-dog Hybrids

Statistically, Pit Bulls cause more than 65% of all dog bite deaths, followed by Rottweilers (10.4%), German shepherds (4.6%), mixed breeds (3.9%), American bulldogs (3.5%), and Husky (3%).

Purposes of certain breeds

Certain breeds kept as family pets have an intensely strong bite compared to other breeds. These breeds include:

  • American Bulldog
  • American Pit Bull
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Dutch Shepherd
  • English Mastiff
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler

Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever breeds are best known for their safety around adults and children and are least likely to inflict dog bite injuries. Initially, these dogs were bred for hunting and retrieving fowl using a soft mouth (not biting) their owners’ prey.

The police and military tend to favor the German Shepherd as police dogs or in search and rescue. These large dogs have lots of energy, are highly alert, and have excellent protective instincts. Due to their protective nature, pet owners should ensure they receive the proper training regarding reactions to strangers.

Factors Leading to Fatal Dog Attacks

A 2018 American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) Journal [8] report revealed co-occurring factors of dog bit injuries leading to dog bite fatalities, based on studies by the CDC.

Some of these factors include:

  • There was no person present during the fatal dog attack that could intervene
  • The dangerous dog was not related to the dog bit victim
  • The dog owner failed to spay or neuter their pet
  • The animal owner could not manage their pet’s interactions due to physical conditions or age
  • The owners kept their animals as guard dogs instead of family pets
  • The dog’s owner neglected or abused their animal
  • The animal was mismanaged or mishandled by a previous owner

In many reported cases, fatal attacks involved four or more factors listed above.

Preventing a Dog Bite Attack

According to the National Canine Research Council [9], dog bites happen even with the least aggressive dogs, even when not provoked. While dogs have the instinct to read human body language, they can become confused by situations that could trigger an attack.

Responsible pet ownership is being aware of specific factors that can enhance dog bite prevention, whether it is with family dogs, neighbor’s dogs, or stray animals, such as:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog
  • Remain calm and do not make loud noises, panic, or run away from the animal, which could trigger them to attack
  • Do not disturb the dog when sleeping, eating, or caring for their puppies
  • Allow a new dog to smell and sniff you before trying to touch the animal
  • Never scratch a dog on the head
  • Call the local animal control to report any stray dogs in the neighborhood
  • Report any dog that displays odd behavior
  • If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball, remaining motionless, covering your neck and ears with your arms and hands
  • Avoid playing aggressively with any dog, including the family pet

Fatal Dog Bites Comparison to Other Risks

Overall, dog bite fatalities are exceedingly rare compared to other everyday risks. According to the CDC, the events, incidents, and attacks that caused the most fatalities in the United States in 2018 include:

  • Unintentional poisoning – nearly 64,800
  • Car accidents – Over 40,200
  • Falling from steps or stairs – over 1,935
  • Falling from a ladder – more than 400
  • Animal attacks (other than dogs) – 88
  • Hornet, wasp, and bee stings – 62
  • Struck by lightning – 38
  • Dog bites of every breed – 31

More individuals die from automobile accidents in the United States within eight hours than all fatal dog bites in one year.

Dog Bite Liability

According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowner insurance policies paid dog bite victims more than $854 million in 2020. The Institute’s data revealed that the average rose more than 134% over the last two decades, likely due to increasing medical costs, negotiated settlements, and jury trial awards.

The CDC statistics reveal that approximately 4.5 million dog attacks occur yearly in America, resulting in 900,000 infections. Other dog bite claims statistics included:

  • About 27,000 adults and children underwent reconstructive surgery after dog bites in 2018.
  • In America, the percentage of hospital stays and emergency room visits related to animal bites increased by 81% between 2003 and 2018.
  • Insurance companies pay more than $18,000 for every dog bite-related hospital stay, which is 50% higher than other injuries requiring hospitalization.
  • Dog bites in rural areas result in four times as many emergency department visits as in urban areas and three times more hospital stays.
  • Households with two or more dogs are five times more likely to be involved in dog bites than homes without dogs.
  • Hospital emergency departments nationwide treat over 1,000 patients with dog bites daily.
  • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that victims experience over $1 billion and financial losses yearly due to dog bites.

Contact a Dog Bite Injury Attorney to Handle Your Compensation Case

Were you injured or lost a loved one in a life-altering dog bite accident? Was the animal attack due to the dog owner’s negligence?

You are likely entitled to receive financial compensation for your damages. The premises liability attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Contact our legal team at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

All information you share with our law office remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

Resources: [1] CDC, [2] CDC, [3] AVMA, [4] AVMA, [5] National Institutes of Health, [6] NIH, [7] NIH, [8] AVMA, [9] National Canine Research Council

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