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Dog Bite Information

People who propose and support breed specific legislation need to look carefully at what they are promoting.
When a human chooses to share their life with a companion animal of any sort, they are choosing also to take the possible risk of injuries as a direct consequence of that choice. Life is filled
with these risks and human nature is such that it cannot be realistic to believe that one will
always be safe, even when sharing living quarters, crossing roads, walking down steps, riding in automobiles or living with the family dog.
There are many factors directly related with apathy or ignorance in the training and socialization of a canine which can cause an injury to it's human caretaker. It is the direct responsibility of anyone choosing to co-exist with canines to undertake all available and possible steps to learning about and taking the action necessary to make this commitment to another living creature with a whole different living/social structure as safe as possible within reality, not Utopia.  Unless one understands that they cannot surround themselves with a glass bubble which will automatically protect them from harm, they should not get a companion animal in the first place.
Specific Breed Legislation has been shown to be ineffective and in some cases dangerous, time and time again, in any state which implemented it for various reasons.
If you ban a breed or type of dog, it will not stop people from either wanting it or having it. It will however create a situation which makes the people who do have them, at much higher risk of injury, buying from irresponsible breeders and failing to get imperative health care and vaccinations which is both inhumane to the dog and downright criminally dangerous to public health. This needs to be scrutinized closely considering the rapid increase in rabies in wildlife and remember, it is not possible in most states now to purchase rabies vaccines to vaccinate your own animals with.   If a type of dog is legislated against, it will be unable to receive proper vet care, ergo, no rabies vaccination!
If a specific type of dog is banned, where will the people who end up getting them anyhow, get help with any problems that occur if they are not properly training and socializing their dog? Once again, this means that the dogs will still be there bans or no bans but now, they have no outreach to prevent or fix behaviour problems.  Is this a positive outcome or solution to the problem?
What breed clubs will be able to police it's members, help eliminate puppy mills and pursue public education thus making responsible ownership possible under such circumstances? How can this protect the public or the dog? Solutions such as that neither educate nor protect.
Already it has been found that it is very difficult to uphold such legislation, dogs have been mis-identified and slaughtered for mere suspicion, and many dogs cannot be correctly identified by ACOs, shelters or the average public. This means that many dogs will be the victims of witch-hunts because they look like one thing or another to someone.
A better solution to dogs which have become a problem in safety would be to punish and hold accountable, individual, irresponsible owners, not a whole population of dogs. Breed or type specific legislation is punishing everyone who IS responsible and have met the requirements for having which ever type of dog they choose.

Below are various pieces of information relating to dog bites, the stats, the cause and prevention.

Fatal Dog Attacks

ATLANTA & WASHINGTON--Dog bite injuries can lead to serious infections
(such as tetanus and
rabies), disability, deformity, and occasionally death. Most of these
injuries are preventable.

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention,
and the Humane Society of the United States recently updated data on
fatal dog bites for the period 1989
to 1994.

In the 6-year study published in the medical journal PEDIATRICS (Vol.97
No. 6, 891-5), Jeffrey J.
Sacks, M.D. and associates reported the finding of 109 bite-related
fatalities. They found that 57% of the
deaths were in children under 10 years of age. 22% of the deaths
involved an unrestrained dog OFF the
owner's property. 18% of the deaths involved a restrained dog ON the
owner's property, and 59% of the
deaths involved an unrestrained dog ON the owner's property.

The researchers also found that 10% of the dog bite attacks involved
sleeping infants.

The most commonly reported dog breeds involved were pit bulls (24
deaths), followed by Rottweilers (16
deaths), and German shepherds (10 deaths). The authors point out that
many breeds, however, are
involved in the problem.

The death rate from dog bite-related fatalities (18 deaths per year) in
the 6-year study period remained
relatively constant compared with the prior 10 years.

The authors emphasized that "most of the factors contributing to dog
bites are related to the level of
responsibility exercised by dog owners." They recommend public education
about dogs and dog
ownership. In this regard, the authors suggest the following guidelines
for parents and children:

A Study done by the Federal Centers for Disease Control, states that a child by the age of 14 has a nearly 50% chance of having a serious dog bite. Most bites to children, are done by a known dog such as a neighbour's and second most common are from dogs actually belonging to the family.

When a Dog Bites, Everybody Gets Hurt


  Number of letter carriers bitten in the past year:
                                           ;                2,851
                                           ;                         U.S.
Postal Service
  Number of dogs owned in U.S.:
                                           ;                52 million

American Veterinary Medical Assn.
  Estimated amount paid out by U.S. insurance companies in 1994 for
  dog-bite claims
                                           ;                $1 Billion

Insurance Information Institute, Inc.
  Average amount of a dog-bite insurance claim:
                                           ;                $12,000
                                           ;                         State
Farm Insurance
  Chances that a bodily injury homeowner’s insurance claim will involve
  a dog bite:
                                           ;                1 in 3
                                           ;                         State
Farm Insurance
  Chances an American will be bitten by a dog this year:
                                           ;                1 in 50

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  Likelihood that the biting dog will be male:
                                           ;                8 in 10

Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS)
  Likelihood that the biting dog will not have been neutered:
                                           ;                6 in 10
                                           ;                         HSUS
  Chances that the bite will require medical attention:
                                           ;                1 in 5
                                           ;                         CDC
  Chances that the bite victim requiring medical attention will be a
                                           ;                3.2 to 1
                                           ;                         CDC
  Average number of fatal dog bites every year:
                                           ;                9-12

  Ratio of households keeping a dog due to fear of crime 1981
  compared to 1993:
                                           ;                2 to 1
                                           ;                         HSUS
  Chances that the victim of a fatal dog attack will be a burglar
                                           ;                1 in 177
                                           ;                         HSUS
  Chances that the victim of a fatal attack will be a child:
                                           ;                7 in 10

  Likelihood that a dog which has bitten will be destroyed:
                                           ;                High
                                           ;                         HSUS

A Study done by the Federal Centers for Disease Control, states that a child by the age of 14 has a nearly 50% chance of having a serious dog bite. Most bites to children, are done by a known dog such as a neighbour's and second most common are from dogs actually belonging to the family.

Michael Bermant, MD

                 Board Certified by the
                 American Board of Plastic Surgery
Dog Bite Prevention

Dog bites result in approximately 44,000 facial injuries in US hospitals
each year. This represents between 0.5% and 1.5% of all emergency room
visits. Male patients slightly outnumber females in most studies. Severe
injuries occur almost exclusively in children less than 10 years of age.
face is the most frequent target (77% of all injures). Mail carriers are
exception where 97% involve the lower extremities. We see an unusual
number of dreadful injuries each spring. Severely injured patients stay
average of 4.2 days in the hospital.

                Type injuries


                         tissue loss &


                       crushing wounds


                        fractured bones

These wounds potentially result in disfiguring scars. The central target
area for the face includes
the lips, nose, and cheeks.

Dog human interaction

The vast majority of bites are by pet dogs and happen when people are
engaged in socially
acceptable behavior in appropriate places. They generally (61%) occur
close to dog's home or
home of the bitten person. Typically (77%) injuries are by friendly dogs
known to the bitten
person. In one study of an urban emergency room of children less than 4
years old, 47% were
bitten by their dog and 90% were bitten at home. When broadly defining
provocation, almost half
of all injuries are provoked. Children aged 5 or younger are more likely
to provoke animals.

Hounds are less likely to injure than working or sporting breeds.
Puppies are also more likely to
injure than an adult dog.

E.J. Mayeaux, Jr., M.D.
                                 Associate Professor of Family Medicine
                          Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and
                        Louisiana State University Medical Center
Shreveport, Louisiana


                                 A biting look at man's best friend

by Cary Silver

Peter and Dani Rusnak loved their two dogs & emdash;

a black poodle named Sheridan and a black

labrador called Jake. Each summer, the couple took the pair on long,
scenic romps along Lake Michigan near their home in
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A., and to Central Street to mingle with
shoppers and to sample croissants. (Yes, even the dogs got a

"Jake is so laid back, so good-natured," says Peter. "He'll put up with
almost anything."  Sheridan, on the other hand, was
somewhat temperamental, but considered very intelligent and trustworthy.
"They were both just great dogs," says Dani.

No wonder the couple was shocked when one of their pets bit their
18-month-old daughter, Sallyan, in the face. She required
10 stitches above her eye. "We heard the dog growl, and then saw blood
everywhere," recalls Peter. Sallyan needed plastic
surgery to repair the damage to her eyelid. "We were lucky she didn't
lose an eye," he adds.

The culprit: amiable Jake, the dog they would have least expected to
make such an attack.

The couple quickly found a new home for the lab-
The financial and emotional costs of dog bites are staggering. In 1984,
an 11-year-old girl was awarded a record sum of more
than $1 million for physical and mental trauma caused by a dog bite,
which has left her permanently disfigured. According to
U.S. insurance industry estimates, $1 billion in dog-bite liability
claims were paid in 1994. State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance Co., the nation's largest home and auto insurer, paid out
$58.7 million for dog-bite claims that year.

Here is a link to Wolfdunn,  There is a letter
written by Dr. Stephanie Porter regarding
Breed specific legislation.

Incidence and Statistics

1995 - Over 100 million dogs and cats in U.S.

     Between 1 and 2 million dog bites reported each year.
     Dogs responsible for approx. 85% of bite wounds.
     1/3 of all animal bites occur in children.
     85% of dog bites and 80% of cat bites are inflicted by animals
belonging to victim's family or a neighbor.

          facial injuries more common in children.
     In 1992 - bites account for 1% of all ER visits.
          10,000 hospitalizations annually.
          10 - 20 reported deaths annually.
          Cost in medical care estimated at $5-30 million/yr.


     Dog bites may deliver 150-450 lb per sq inch - enough for a crush
     Puncture wounds and wounds to hands and joints are more likely to
become infected.
     Site - hands (48-59%), arms (16-26%), lower limbs (15%), and face
     Human bites often more serious and often involve hands.

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