Dog bites – learn about the most dangerous breeds

Dog bites – learn about the most dangerous breeds

Dog bites are a serious national problem. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and 800,000 of those bites are serious enough to require medical attention. Between 2006 and 2008, 88 people died from dog attacks.

The majority of dog bite victims and dog bite deaths are young children. Children are at greater risk simply because they tend to play with dogs more than adults, are more likely to make sudden, impulsive movements or other behaviors that would alarm the dog, and because they are less familiar with the behavior of animals, they may not read a dog’s warning signs that it is feeling scared or provoked. Their small size makes them less able to defend themselves when attacked.

A study published by, a national group for dog bite victims, found that three breeds were responsible for the most fatal attacks during the three-year period 2006-2008. Pit bull terriers were responsible for 52 of those deaths. Rottweilers killed 12 people, and American Bulldogs and Huskies killed four each.

The pattern of pit bull attacks is particularly alarming. Pit bull terriers attack adults more often than small children. Six of the dead were 65 or older, and two were attacked in their own backyards. Pit bulls are also responsible for most attacks on adults ages 21-54. In 14% of pit bull attacks on very young children, ages 0-4, an adult was with the child and was unable to prevent the attack. Pit bull attacks often come without warning. The practice of docking these dogs’ tails makes it more difficult to recognize that they are upset or likely to attack. In many cases, the fatal episode is the first time the dog has attacked a person.

Many states have passed “one bite” laws that require the owner to be warned the first time a dog bites. If the dog bites again, the law requires the dog to be euthanized. For pit bulls, whose attacks are so intense and so often result in severe maiming or death of the victim, one bite is one bite too many. Another problem with creating laws to control these dangerous and unpredictable animals is that there is no clear genetic standard for what constitutes a pit bull terrier. The lack of a clear standard allows irresponsible owners and breeders to challenge breed-specific laws.

In the face of laws that are insufficient to protect the public, many insurance companies now refuse to sell homeowners liability insurance to owners of pit bulls, rottweilers, pit bulls, and huskies. There is some opinion in the dog-owning community that these breeds are simply too dangerous to be regulated by conventional standards, and may in fact be too dangerous to continue to breed and own.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious dog attack, you should consult with an attorney experienced in handling dog attack cases. You may be able to reach a settlement that will reimburse you for your medical and rehabilitation expenses, both current and future.

You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your situation. Each state has deadlines, called statutes of limitations, that govern the filing of lawsuits. They vary from state to state. If you believe that negligence or misconduct has been involved, you should not delay in contacting an attorney. If the statute of limitations expires, your right to file a claim may be extinguished forever.

In dog attack cases, the attorney and client usually work on a contingent fee basis, where the attorney is only paid if the client’s case is successful, either through an out-of-court settlement or a trial. If there is no refund, there is no fee. This arrangement can be helpful because it does not require the person who was injured to contribute money up front.

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