UNITED STATES AND CANADA – National Pit Bull Victim Awareness marks its fifth anniversary on October 26, 2019 with a renewed call for the media to address the critical issue of pit bull attacks. Pit bulls have killed 24 people to date this year, compared to 14 deaths by all other breeds of dogs combined.
October 26 is National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day, in memory of those who have been attacked or killed, their grieving families and neighbors, and vast networks of emergency response services, animal services, police, doctors and hospitals, victim support groups, therapists, editors, reporters and legislators who are affected by these tragedies.
We want to thank editors and reporters who inform the public about this serious issue.
To date in 2019, someone has been killed by a pit bull on average every 11 days.
In the first 6 months of 2019, pit bulls killed more people than Dobermans killed in 60 years.
DEATHS TO DATE IN 2019
Pit bulls/mixes were responsible for 24 of the 38 fatalities by dogs:
01/09/19 Diane Reves, 70, Grenada County, MS – Killed by neighbor’s mixed breed dogs in her yard
01/16/19 Lana Bergman, 70, Joshua Tree, CA – Killed by 4 neighbor’s pit bulls in her yard
01/21/19 Edward Stanley, 85, Amarillo, TX – Killed by pit bull-mix and GSD-mix in his driveway
01/24/19 Patricia Henson, 8 months, Tucson, AZ – Killed by family dog in her home
02/07/19 Ashton McGhee, 1, Guthrie, KY – Killed by family pit bull-mix in home
02/08/19 Elaine Richman, 64, Houston, TX – Killed by family Doberman pinschers in backyard
02/09/19 Angela Johnson, 54, Anza, CA – Killed by three pit bulls while hanging laundry in yard
02/21/19 Nancy Burgess-Dismuke, 52, Greenville, SC – Killed by her own boxer-mixes in her yard
02/26/19 Bessie Peterson, 88, Pall Mall, TN – Killed by neighbor’s 6 German shepherds
02/27/19 Johnnie Mae Walker Garner, 88, Lubbock, TX – Killed by neighbor’s 6 pit bull-mixes
03/05/19 Jacari Long, 6 months, Salisbury, NC – Killed by babysitter’s boxer/pit bull-mix
03/08/19 Tanner Kinnamon, 2, High Springs, FL – Killed by family pit bull and pit bull-mix in home
03/13/19 Jimmy Grigg, 53, Santa Fe, TX – Killed by relative’s 3 cattle dog-mixes
03/22/19 Jaysiah Chavez, 2, Fresno, CA – Killed by 2 stray Rottweilers in his front yard
03/23/19 Johana Villafane, 33, Irving, TX – Killed by her 2 pit bulls that were in quarantine at shelter
04/27/19 Girl, 15 months, Henderson, NV – Killed by family friend’s Rottweiler
05/02/18 Isaiah Geiling, 3, Louisville, KY – Killed by family pit bull-mix in his home
05/09/19 Christine Liquori, 52, Fort Pierce, FL – Killed by pit bull-mix at Humane Society shelter
05/09/19 Ryan Hazel, 14, Dighton, MA – Killed by 1 Belgian Malinois and 3 Dutch shepherds
05/31/19 R. Joseph Quick, 33, Fort Madison, IA – Killed by boxer his family was watching in yard
06/16/19 Crystal Pearigen, 36, Bakersfield, CA – Killed by 2 pit bulls. mixed breed in Costco parking lot
06/27/19 Nicholas Farris, 2, Newman, CA – Killed by family pit bull/mastiff mix in backyard
06/28/19 Christy Crawford, 54, Ventura, CA – Killed by her 2 family pit bulls in her home
06/29/19 Brian Butler, 46, Gilbertsville, KY – Killed by 2 pit bulls on roadway
07/04/19 Melvin Olds Jr., 45, Lake Placid, FL – Killed by pack of pit bull-mixes on trail
07/09/19 Ruth Flores, 22 days old, Gainesville, GA – Killed by family husky-mix in a bedroom
07/11/19 Homer Utterback, 52, Uniontown, PA – Killed by his pet pit bull in home
07/18/19 Mario Moore, 40, Memphis, TN – Killed by 5 dogs, including a pit bull-mix from across street
08/10/19 Nelson Cabrera, 16, Irving, TX – Killed by 3 pit bulls in backyard of stranger’s home
08/19/19 Emma Hernandez, 9, Detroit, MI – Killed by neighbor’s 3 pit bulls in alley behind her home
08/30/19 Adrieanna O’Shea, 19, Columbia, TN – Killed by 5 dogs, including pit bull, in friend’s yard
09/07/19 Arlene Renna, 67, Pleasant Valley, NY – Killed by family’s 2 coonhounds in home
09/20/19 Boy, 13 months old, Granite Bay, CA – Killed by family pit bull in his home
09/30/19 Allen Bruce, 56, Bennington, OK – Killed by acquaintance’s 2 pit bulls, 1 pit bull-mix
09/30/19 Morgan Crayton, 31, Hampton, VA – Killed by her own pit bull in her backyard
10/01/19 Steven Thornton III, 3, Louisville, KY – Killed by family’s 2 Rottweilers in his backyard
10/08/19 Dustin Bryan, Modesto, CA – Killed by family’s 2 pit bulls in relative’s home
THE NUMBERS ARE NOT DECREASING
Since we formed 5 years ago and began posting news links on our Facebook page, the media in the United States and Canada has reported more than 5,000 separate attacks by pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
In September 2017, the crisis caught the attention of CBC’s Fifth Estate. The report examined the claims of pit bull marketers and lobbyists who have been spending millions of dollars re-branding pit bulls as safe family pets, and compared them to the findings of doctors and medical centers.
The number of medical articles has increased 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 dog-bite-related injuries;
• pit bulls are responsible for 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.
RECENT ARTICLES IN REFEREED MEDICAL JOURNALS
Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, 2019
Epidemiology, Socioeconomic Analysis, and Specialist Involvement in Dog Bite Wounds in Adults
Findings: A total of 189 adults presented to the emergency department with dog-bite-related injuries. The most common breed of dog identified was pit bull (n = 29, 47.5%).
Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 2019
Pediatric dog bite injuries in Central Texas
Findings: Injuries often involved the head–neck region (92.1%), and 72.5% were of major severity. Pet dogs were responsible for 42% of injuries, and pit bull was the most-identified breed.
Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2019
Dog bites in the emergency department: a descriptive analysis
A total of 475 dog bites were identified. Pit-bull type was the most frequently implicated breed (27%).
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 2019
Dog bite injuries to the face: Is there risk with breed ownership?
Findings: Injuries from pitbulls and mixed breed dogs were both more frequent and more severe. Mixed breed and the pit bull were found to have the highest relative risk of biting, as well as the highest average damage per bite
Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2019
Children have an Increased Risk for Periorbital Dog Bite Injuries
Findings: The pit bull was the most commonly named breed to be involved in both pediatric (18%) and adult (26.2%) injuries.
Forensic Science International, 2019
Canines seized by the Swedish Police Authority
Findings: The pit bull was the most commonly named breed to be involved in both pediatric (18%) and adult (26.2%) injuries.
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 over-represented 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.
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 is complicit in the propaganda when it insists the viewpoint of pit bull advocates is 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 writers.
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.
“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.
CBC Fifth Estate Report
Mark Kelly, CBC
WISN 12 News
Myth: Pit Bulls are Not Aggressive
Statistics on deaths and injuries by pit bulls
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/