Released OCTOBER 15, 2018
UNITED STATES AND CANADA – National Pit Bull Victim Awareness marks its fourth anniversary on October 27, 2018 with a renewed call for the media to address the critical issue of pit bull attacks.
October 27 is National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day, in memory of those who have been attacked or killed, their families and neighborhoods, and the vast network of emergency response services, animal services, police, doctors and hospitals, victim support groups, therapists, editors, reporters and legislators affected by these tragedies.
We want to thank editors and reporters who inform the public about this serious issue. If you are not able to report on National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day at this time, please keep our information and contacts on file.
National Pit Bull Victim Awareness (NPBVA) tracks media reports of pit bull attacks and deaths in the United States and Canada on an interactive map. In the first 8.5 months of 2018, the media has reported more than 600 attacks involving people, including 23 deaths by pit bulls. Pit bulls killed 9 children under the age of four.
One pit bull in 40 injures or kills a person or another animal, compared to 1 in 50,000 of all other dog breeds combined.
In the first 6 months of 2018, pit bulls killed more people than Dobermans killed in 60 years.
Between January 1 – October 15, 2018, pit bulls killed 24 out of 29 people killed by dogs.
Every year, pit bulls are responsible for:
90% of serious dog injuries to people
Deaths of up to 85% of adults and children killed by dogs
94% of all dogs killed by dogs
92% of dog maulings by other dogs
92% of all cats killed by dogs
85% of the deaths of farm animals killed by dogs
Yet pit bulls are only 6.5% of the dog population in the United States and Canada.
THE NUMBERS ARE NOT DECREASING
So far in 2018, someone has been killed by a pit bull on average every 13 days. Since we formed 4 years ago, the media in the United States and Canada has reported an average of 1,000 attacks per year.
But most municipalities do not track attacks by breed, and according to a study of insurance claims, an estimated 96% of attacks are not reported by the media at all.
Reported attacks this year have been highest in Florida (55 news reports including 4 deaths) and California (40 news reports including 1 death). For attacks in your own state or province, view our interactive map of reported pit bull attacks where we record news of pit bull attacks daily. Each attack is linked to the news source.
In September 2017, the crisis caught the attention of CBC’s Fifth Estate. The report examined claims of lobbyists spending millions of dollars re-branding pit bulls as safe family pets versus the findings of doctors and medical centers.
The number of medical articles published in 2018 has doubled as doctors and medical centers express concerns about the disproportionate numbers of attacks by pit bulls compared to other dogs, as well as the disproportionate amount of damage. Medical findings indicate:
• pit bulls are responsible for a significantly higher number of attacks, as well as significantly greater trauma and bite injuries;
• pit bulls are more then 2.5 times as likely to bite in several places than other breeds;
• almost half of all injuries require surgery.
The issue is a concern to many people. Google Analytics reported 255,000 unique visitors to the National Pit Bull Victim Awareness website in 2018 by October 15, almost 30,000 per month, with an average session duration of 3:20 minutes. On our Facebook page, victims tell heartbreaking stories of their own attacks and those of family members. In more than 50% of serious attacks, the pit bulls are family dogs.
A previous investigative piece by La Presse (August 13, 2016) examined links between the US pit bull lobby and its influence on veterinary doctors.
In addition to the human toll, thousands of household pets are killed by pit bulls. In 2015, pit bulls killed 24,000 other dogs and 13,000 cats, as reported by Animals 24-7, a news organization that has logged fatal and disfiguring dog attacks for 35 years.
ABOUT NATIONAL PIT BULL VICTIM AWARENESS
National Pit Bull Victim Awareness advocates for more than 70 organizations and social media groups in the United States and Canada, including memorial and support pages for victims of pit bull attacks, breed-safety legislation, and nonprofit organizations. View Partners and Friends
• We want the media to put victims first by reporting the emotional impact of pit bull attacks on families and communities.
• We want the media to help taxpayers understand the cost of subsidizing pit bull breeding, the cost of pit bull attacks, and the economic issues of up-to-80% pit bulls in taxpayer-funded shelters.
• We want to see pit bull ownership and pit bull breeding regulated. Lowering the pit bull population will reduce the number of serious maulings and the euthanasia of pit bulls.
• We want pit bull owners to have liability insurance which fully covers the medical costs of victims. In most cases, victims are left to pay the cost of life-flights, ambulances, emergency hospital treatments, and numerous surgeries for years to come.
• We want to see the end of cross-border transportation of pit bulls with unknown and potentially aggressive histories. We want to see the cross-border transportation of pit bulls from kill shelters in the United States to Canada stopped.
HOW REPORTING ON PIT BULLS NEEDS TO CHANGE
We believe the media creates a dangerous false balance when it presents the pit bull advocate viewpoint as being as valid as that of public health and safety professionals on the matter of pit bull attacks.
We do not believe people with a vested financial interest in the promotion of pit bulls should be presented as disinterested public officials on the topic.
In a debate on “whether smoking is bad for you”, the media would never ask cigarette companies for their views on whether cigarette smoking should be allowed back in schools or give airtime to the tobacco industry’s “bought and paid for” research. Yet media frequently does exactly this by turning to pit bull advocates.
2018: DEATHS BY PIT BULLS UNITED STATES & CANADA
January 1 – October 15, 2018 (View complete list 2015-2018)
01/09/18 Laura Williams Ray, 53, West Monroe, LA – Killed by pit bull while at pet boarding facility
01/14/18 Rylee Dodge, 3, Duncan, OK – Killed by family pit bull in her home, dragged outside
02/15/18 David Brown, 46, Owensboro, KY – Killed by family pit bull in his home
03/07/18 Girl, 8 days old, Big Stone Gap, VA – Killed by family wolf-hybrid in home
03/09/18 Loxli Chavez, 13 months old, Cape Girardeau, MO – Killed by babysitter’s pit bull-mix
03/24/18 Hong Saengsamly, 49, Milwaukee, MI – Killed by at least 1 of her 2 pit bulls in her home
03/25/18 Noah Trevino, 4, Converse, TX – Killed by his family’s pit bull-mix in his backyard
05/05/18 Gaia Nova, 3 months, Sherman Oaks, CA – Killed by family Rottweiler, lab, terrier
05/10/18 Tracy Garcia, 52, Ardmore, OK – Killed by neighbor’s pit bull, 4 pit-mix puppies per vet
05/16/18 Georgia Morgan, 75, Gulfport, MS – Killed by 2 pit bulls while on neighborhood walk
05/24/18 Gauge Eckenrode, 6, Lakemont, PA – Killed by family pit bull in his home
05/30/18 Liana Valino, 8 months old, Miramar, FL – Killed by family pit bull in grandmother’s care
06/13/18 Paige Bradley, 5 months old, Forest Park, GA – Killed by babysitter’s German shepherd
06/21/18 Jenna Rae Sutphin, 28, Huntingtown, MD – Killed by fiance’s Dogo Argentino near their yard
06/25/18 Donald Steele, 91, Arcata, CA – Killed by family pit bull-mix
07/17/18 Jaelah Smith, 6, Jacksonville, FL – Killed by family friend’s pit bull in her home
08/01/18 Javon Torres, 2, Philadelphia, PA – Killed by 3 family pit bulls in his home
08/04/18 Karen Brown, 57, Chicago, IL – Killed by pit bull while walking in neighborhood
08/09/18 Olga Rekhson, 66, Lake Tillery, NC – Killed by 2 pit bulls while on daily walk
08/18/18 Gurney Walker, 75, Rocky Mount, NC – Killed by a friend’s pit bull in his home
08/22/18 Della Riley, 42, West Price Hill, OH – Killed by her pit bull in her home
09/03/18 Robin Conway, 64, Columbia, MD – Killed by newly adopted pit bull in her yard
09/09/18 Mitchell Segerdahl, 53, Baker City, OR – Killed by one or two of his six pit bulls in home
09/15/18 Lisa Lloyd, 50, Langston, AB – Killed by her pet pit bull-mix in her home
10/05/18 Khloe Williams, 7 months old, Clearwater, FL – Killed by family’s pit bull-mix in home
10/12/18 Denali Gonzalez 2, Alvin, TX – Killed by family’s pit bull-mix in home
10/14/18 Angela Smith, 55, Washington D.C. – Killed by her pet pit bull in her home
“Pit bulls caused over 50% of the bites to children requiring a trip to the operating room because of the severity of their injuries. Moreover, pit bulls were over 2 and a half times more likely to bite in multiple areas of a child’s body than any other breed.” – Dr. Michael S. Golinko, “Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution”, Clinical Pediatrics, 2018
“With dogs bred to fight and kill and to be muscular and strong like pit bulls, one slip-up can be disastrous, even fatal, especially for a child.” – Dr. Laura Marusinec
“You can’t love instinct out of them, you can’t train it out of them.” – Dr. Douglas Skinner
“But instead of placing regulations on dangerous breeds, we have lobbyists and legislators passing laws to protect dangerous dogs, not their victims.” – Liz Marsden, trainer in Michael Vick’s case
“They’re borderline dogs. They’re right on the edge all of the time. Even if the dogs are not trained or used for fighting, and even though they are generally good with people, their bloodline makes them prone to violence.” – F.L. Dantzler, HSUS Director of Field Services
“Pit bulls are different; they’re like wild animals. They’re not suited for an urban environment. I believe we should open our eyes and take a realistic approach to pit bulls.” – Alan Beck, Director for the Center for the Human Animal Bond at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, Indiana
“Pit bulls are a breed-specific problem. The public is misled to believe that pit bulls are like any other dog. And they just aren’t.” – PETA
“If you are trying to create submission in a fighting breed, it’s not going to happen. They would rather die than surrender.” –¬ Cesar Milan, TV dog trainer
“Most breeds do not multiple-bite. A pit bull attack is like a shark attack: He keeps coming back.” – Kurt Lapham, field investigator for the West Coast Regional office of the Humane Society
The American SPCA warns animals shelters about the dangers of pit bull-type dogs, and recommends “panic buttons” be installed in areas where pit bulls are housed.
RECENT ARTICLES IN REFEREED MEDICAL JOURNALS
Journal of Orthopedic Trauma, 2018
Dogs and Orthopaedic Injuries: Is There a Correlation with Breed?
Findings: Of the 95 patients, 50% were the result of a pit bull terrier bite and 22% by a law enforcement dog. A total of 32% were attacked by multiple dogs. Pit bull terrier bites were responsible for a significantly higher number of orthopaedic injuries and resulted in an amputation and/or bony injury in 66% of patients treated.
Southern Medical Journal, 2018
Characteristics of Dog Bites in Arkansas
Conclusions: The results are aligned mostly with the general trends found in previous national and global studies, supporting the notion that family dogs represent a more significant threat than often is realized and that, among the breeds identified, pit bulls are proportionally linked with more severe bite injuries.
Clinical Pediatrics, 2018
Characteristics of 1616 Consecutive Dog Bite Injuries at a Single Institution
Findings: Infants were more than 4 times as likely to be bitten by the family dog and more than 6 times as likely to be bitten in the head/neck region. Children under 5 years old were 62% more likely to require repair; and 5.5% of all patients required an operation. Pit bull bites were implicated in half of all surgeries performed and over 2.5 times as likely to bite in multiple anatomic locations as compared to other breeds.
International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, 2018
Pit Bull attack causing limb threatening vascular trauma —A case series
Findings: Canine attacks by Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers can occur at any age and in any anatomical area of the body particularly the limbs. Any attack by these large canines can result in limb loss or loss of life. Immediate surgical exploration is required to prevent catastrophic outcomes, especially limb loss.
Injury Prevention, 2018
Effectiveness of breed-specific legislation in decreasing dog-bite injury hospitalizations in Manitoba
Findings: By comparing the rate of dog bite injury hospitalizations in Winnipeg (where there is a ban on pit bulls) and Brandon (where there is no ban), a 14.7% reduction in the rate of dog bite injury hospitalizations was found for people of all ages, and of 28.1% for people under 20 years.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2018
Retrospective analysis of necropsy reports from 2001-2012 suggestive of abuse in dogs and cats
Results: Pit bull-type dogs (29/73 or 40%) were overrepresented in several abuse categories, such as gunshot and blunt-force trauma. This supports legislation for mandatory spay/neuter to reduce suffering.
International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, 2017
Pit bull attack causing limb threatening vascular trauma – A case series
Conclusion: Attacks by pit bull terriers are more likely to cause severe morbidity than other breeds of dogs.
Journal of Neurosurgery – Pediatrics, 2017
Neurosurgical sequelae of domestic dog attacks in children
A retrospective review of all children requiring neurosurgical consultation for dog bite at a regional Level 1 pediatric trauma center over a 15-year period.
Finding: Dog attacks on children requiring neurosurgical consultation commonly involve the family pet, which is usually a large-breed dog with no history of prior aggression.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2017
3 Year Review of a Level I Regional Referral Pediatric Trauma Hospital
Results: Of the 56 cases that identified dog breed, pit bulls accounted for 48.2 percent of the dog bites, and 47.8 percent of pit bull bites required intervention in the operating room.
Clinical Pediatrics, 2016
Characteristics of 1616 consecutive dog bite injuries at a single institution
Results: Pit bull bites were implicated in half of all surgeries and over 2.5 times as likely to bite in multiple anatomic locations as compared to other breeds.
CBC Fifth Estate Report
Mark Kelly, CBC
WISN 12 News
To publicize this month, every few days we are releasing another in a series of short one-minute videos to inform the public on the extent of the pit bull crisis. These videos are available on our web site, our Youtube, Facebook and Twitter pages.
Myth: Pit Bulls are Not Aggressive
Statistics on deaths and injuries by pit bulls
What’s wrong with pit bulls?
There are more than 25 media reports of pit bull attacks on people per week, and one death every 13 days. By comparison, there are approximately 15 shark attacks on people per year in the United States, with one death every two years.
Pit bull attacks are rarely “dog bites”. Most attacks require hospitalization.
Pit bull attacks increased 830% in seven years in the US and Canada.
What makes pit bulls more dangerous than other dogs?
People who own pit bulls are not necessarily capable of training them or stopping an attack.
Pit bulls are zero-error dogs. There is zero room for mistakes like gates, doors or windows left open or unlocked; for leashes, chains and muzzles breaking or coming loose; or for people not strong enough or experienced enough to prevent attacks.
Why are pit bulls so popular if they are dangerous?
Pit bulls are not more “popular” than other dogs, but they represent up to 80% of abandoned and stray dogs in shelters at any given time.
Advocacy for pit bulls is extremely disproportionate to the actual numbers of pit bulls. There are 78 million dogs in the United States, and only 3.5 million or 4.5% of them are pit bulls.
Millions of dollars are spent on pit bull propaganda to convince people they are safe family pets.
What about adopting from shelters and rescue groups?
There is no way to track the history of abandoned and stray pit bulls. Shelters and rescue groups cannot guarantee your safety and you will likely sign a liability waiver relieving them of any responsibility.
The pit bulls in your shelter may not be local. Thousands of pit bulls with unknown backgrounds are transported daily between shelters in the United States. Thousands of pit bulls with unknown backgrounds are imported into Canada from U.S. shelters. Quebec alone has 16 border entry points.
To promote sales and adoptions, many shelters hide the breed of pit bull type dogs, rename them as other breeds or call them “mixed breed”. There is no guarantee you are not adopting a pit bull.
But aren’t I helping if I adopt a pit bull?
No. Shelters are desperate to re-home pit bulls. There are so many surplus pit bulls, they are often given away free.
More than 1 million pit bulls are euthanized every year, but more than 1 million more are abandoned. Every adopted or euthanized pit bull is immediately replaced by another one.
The adoption failure rate for pit bulls 1 year or older is about 50% per year — about 10 times higher than the failure rate for all other breed types combined.
National Pit Bull Victim Awareness is a North American advocacy initiative for more than 70 organizations and groups including DogsBite.org, Daxton’s Friends, Animals 24-7, Dangerous By Default, Protect Children from Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs, Breed Safety Laws Action Team, and BanPitBulls.org, and is supported by PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
For a full list of Friends and Partners, see https://www.nationalpitbullvictimawareness.org/partners-friends/