“Although only 5% of the U.S. and Canadian dog population are pit bulls, in the past nine years pit bulls have accounted for 80% of the dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks, resulting in two-thirds of the deaths and disfigurements.”
“Pit Bull Awareness day & month mark 33 years of exponentially accelerating pit bull mayhem”
by Merritt Clifton, October 3, 2015
View Pit Bulls Unleashed: Should They be Banned? CBC Fifth Estate, September 22, 2017
Victims of pit bulls include children, families, communities, pets and and farm animals. The extensive numbers of attacks and victim services takes a severe toll on the healthcare system, taxpayers, animal control services, police and police department staff, fire departments, and emergency responders. Please read more about the impact of pit bulls on taxpayers and communities.
PIT BULLS ARE A DANGER TO PEOPLE
Pit bull attacks on humans in the U.S. have reached an epidemic level. In a 30-year study of dog attacks in Canada and the US, 3394 people were attacked by dogs in a fatal and disfiguring manner. 2113 or 60% of the attacks were by pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
In 2021, pill bulls killed 37 people, most of them young children and the elderly. A 2021 analysis of pediatric dog bite injuries at a Level 1 Trauma Center over 10 years found 53% were caused by pit bulls.
View details of deaths and injuries using our database of news media reports and map of attacks in 2021. This database is updated MONTHLY. It covers media reports of attacks and deaths by pit bulls from September 1, 2015 to the present for the USA and Canada. Please note that most pit bull attacks do not get reported by the media.
PIT BULLS ARE DANGEROUS TO FAMILIES
Michael Vick’s high-profile trial for dogfighting and cruelty to animals in 2007 roused a growing sympathy for pit bulls, encouraging people to adopt them and bring them into their homes. In the 10 years since, pit bulls have been increasingly marketed to families with children as a result of overbreeding, overcrowding in shelters, and extensive public relations campaigns.
Pit bulls are not suitable family dogs. In 2020, 46 dog attacks resulted in human death: 15 child victims, 3 victims (ages 10-18) and 28 adult victims. The majority of pit bull attacks are triggered by small, everyday movements: answering a phone, reaching for TV remote, opening a purse, opening a car door, slipping on ice, sitting down on a bed, reading a Bible, and taking down a Christmas tree. View details of unprovoked triggers. The number of attacks has rapidly increased as more pit bulls of unknown backgrounds are adopted.
PIT BULLS ARE A COMMUNITY ISSUE
Pit bulls are a community issue that affects the right of the public to use the streets, sidewalks, laneways, parks and public spaces of a city or town. People are being attacked while jogging, riding their bikes, taking out garbage, picking up their mail, or entering and exiting stores.
A healthy community is a cohesive, safe and happy place that provides a high quality of life for everyone, without fear of attack by an unpredictable dog. It is our social responsibility is to take special care of those most vulnerable in our society – the young, elderly and disabled, and to protect our community members, including people who move through communities to do their jobs: mail carriers, meter readers, delivery people, landscapers, police officers, and animal control.
Jeff Borchardt, whose 14-month-old son Daxton was killed by his babysitter’s pit bulls, recently launched a billboard project in Wisconsin to educate communities about the dangers of pit bulls. Daxton’s Friends for Canine Education and Awareness sponsors the billboards through donations and provides information to the public about dog breeds and safety. Borchardt believes the general public is being told “a very dangerous set of myths” by animal shelters and “rescue” organizations whose goal is to place millions of cast-off pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds into the homes of average families.
Artist Joan Kowal initiated and continues with a poignant touring outdoor art exhibit, which includes crosses for each fatality victim. Unfortunately, with more than 200 new victims each month, community outreach will continue to grow.
PIT BULLS ARE DANGEROUS TO PETS AND COMPANION ANIMALS
Communities become terrorized by stray pit bulls or neighboring pit bulls when these dogs maim and kill precious pets, a daily occurrence across the U.S. and a sporadic occurrence in Canada.
Heartbreaking first-hand accounts of pit bulls attacking beloved dogs and cats can be found at VICTIM STORIES. People are encouraged to share their stories on National Pit Bull Victim Awareness.
Reporters and editors may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use these stories and in many cases contact the victims for more information.
PIT BULLS ARE DANGEROUS TO FARM ANIMALS
Many sources document pit bull attacks on livestock, a worrisome set of statistics because not much can be done to protect these farm animals.
According to Animals 24-7, nearly 50,000 dogs, including nearly 47,000 pit bulls, killed or injured humans or other pets and/or farmed animals in the U.S. during 2017. True to their bull-baiting heritage, pit bulls kill enormous numbers of cattle, sheep, goats, alpacas, donkeys, pigs, and chickens. Pit bulls are known to severely injure and even kill horses, 1,000-pound animals.
PIT BULLS ARE A HEALTHCARE ISSUE
Pit bull attacks are a costly healthcare issue. About 800,000 bite victims a year, at least half of them children, require medical attention. An average of 30 people a year have been killed by pit bulls in the U.S. in the last 5 years. The collateral costs include life flights, lifesaving interventions, plastic surgeries, burials, and mental health costs for post-surgical trauma and PTSD. Due to the utter savagery of pit bull attacks, most surviving victims suffer PTSD, a lifelong struggle.
Medical studies consistently determine that attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Imagine the impact of this disproportionate use of resources in hospitals across the U.S. The ever-increasing number of studies show that pit bulls, unprovoked, inflict much more damage than all other dog breeds. On top of the extreme costs to the medical institutions themselves, rarely do pit bull owners help pay medical expenses, which are typically borne by victims and taxpayers.
PIT BULLS ARE A TAXPAYER ISSUE
In addition to the toll they take on victims, pit bulls are the most overbred and euthanized dogs in North America, with taxpayers subsidizing the euthanization of more than 1 million pit bulls in shelters every year. Attacking pit bulls are quarantined and/or held in shelters, sometimes for over a year, with taxpayers subsidizing their boarding.
Example: For the investigation of dog attacks and dealing with dangerous dogs, the cost to taxpayers of Animal Services in the Portland, Oregon area (where pit bulls have attacked 8 times more than the next breed of dog) totalled more than $3 million in the fiscal year 2015.
The collateral cost of managing the current pit bull crisis in North America far exceeds the cost of monitoring restrictions on pit bull type dogs, including mandatory spay/neutering. The costs rise exponentially every year. Pit bulls since 2010 have increased to almost a third of shelter dog admissions nationally, and more than 60% of the dogs killed in shelters. In many areas, more than 90% of dogs in shelters are pit bulls.
PIT BULLS ARE AN ANIMAL CONTROL ISSUE
The toll that pit bulls take on Animal Control officers reduces time for officers and staff to help other people and animals. In a 30-year study of dog attacks in Canada and the U.S., 3,394 people were attacked by dogs in a fatal and disfiguring manner, and 2,113 or 60% of the attacks were by pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Pit Bulls are the #1 biters in many communities, and when a dog bites, a report must be filed, and rabies ordinances, such as 10 day rabies observations, must be followed. This is time-consuming to animal control staff and can be costly, since staff must be paid to handle and follow up on these bite cases.
When shelters have many animals on stray hold, adoptable-owner surrenders may have to be euthanized to make room. Essentially, the high pit bull population is indirectly causing the euthanasia of adoptable animals.
PIT BULLS ARE A POLICE AND PARAMEDICS ISSUE
Police officers and sheriffs are often caught in no-win situations, in which they are not able to reach victims in time, or they need to shoot attacking pit bulls to save themselves or other people.
When an attack occurs and victims are fighting for their lives, first responders cannot by law attend to them until police have secured the area. Many victims have to be life-flighted to a trauma center and every second counts. There have been cases where the victim expired at the scene from exsanguination while awaiting medical attention while police attempted to restrain or capture dogs. Firemen cannot enter burning residences or buildings if an aggressive pit bull threatens them in the doorway or yard.
First responders are frequently subjected to horrific scenes in the aftermath of a pit bull mauling. They are the first to witness the damage to pit bull attack victims, who often lose limbs, scalps, noses, ears, eyes, chins, and genitals to these dogs.
Attacking pit bulls sometimes have to be shot many times before releasing victims. There have been hundreds of examples of pit bull advocates tying up phone lines, flooding email addresses, marching, picketing police stations, and demanding national attention when aggressive pit bulls are shot by police to stop or to prevent a mauling or fatality.
PIT BULLS ARE A LEGISLATION ISSUE
For many years the powerful and well-funded pit bull lobby has sought to dismantle breed-specific legislation at the state level across the U.S. and also in Ontario. Pit bull enthusiasts waste enormous amounts of taxpayer money protesting an acknowledged public health and safety issue.
Pit bull lobbyists promote punishing people after their dogs attack, rather than preventing attacks in the first place. However, it is almost impossible to ask legislators for pit bull restrictions, and almost impossible for them to do their job. For more information on legislation issues, see http://www.dogsbite.org/legislating-dangerous-dogs-bsl-faq.php
PIT BULLS ARE A SHELTER ISSUE
Arguably the most serious issue in shelters is euthanization.
In a new trend, many shelters and rescue groups, desperate for homes, downplay their danger with ads designed to mislead potential adopters: calling them “medium brown dogs” and other descriptors instead of naming the breed; naming them after celebrities; using cute names and descriptions; using euphemisms to describe character and behavior; and calling them mixes like “lab mixes” or “boxer mixes”.
Potential adopters believe they can rely on the expertise of shelters for sound advice about potential pit bull adoptions. The truth is that shelters are educated by advocates of dangerous dogs in how to avoid liability when adopting out potentially or known dangerous dogs.
PIT BULLS ARE A RESCUE GROUP ISSUE
The number of pit bulls at no-kill shelters increased six times in the year 2014 and has quadrupled since then. Due to the extreme overbreeding of pit bulls and because of their aggressive tendencies, breed-specific rescue groups for pit bulls have formed in the U.S. and Canada over the past 10 years for the specific goal of taking in unwanted pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
The scenario is explosive. Stressors include high percentages of owner-surrenders by people who can’t handle their dogs’ aggression; the pressure by shelters – especially no-kill shelters – to get rescues to take on some of the shelter burden; rescues not having enough foster homes; taking on more pit bulls than they can handle; the need for constant last-minute “pulls” of pit bulls from shelters where they are scheduled for euthanasia; and a high degree of staff burnout from caring for and managing the fallout of the pit bull crisis. Rescue staff have constant exposure to the trauma of pit bulls that have been injured, abandoned, neglected, and abused. On top of this, they often face an ungrateful or hostile public – a public that doesn’t want to know what happens in shelters or out on the road in the truck.
PIT BULLS ARE A TRANSPORT ISSUE
When shelters adopt a no-kill policy, the number of pit bulls spins quickly out of control, resulting in such measures as “free” pit bull give-away days of pit bulls with unknown backgrounds; marketing strategies to re-name pit bulls as “mixed breed” or other types of dogs, to make them more appealing to potential adopters; and transport initiatives where many dogs spend years being moved from shelter to shelter.
The latter is often an outcome of the “No Kill” movement, with shelters forced to keep dogs rotating among different geographic locations in the U.S. in an attempt to pass on the problems and keep their numbers low, in order to receive ongoing funding.
PIT BULLS ARE A SERVICE DOG ISSUE
As a result of breed-specific legislation in certain areas and to increase the rights of pit bull owners in general, pit bull advocates are using the “Service Dog” label to get their canines into areas that generally do not allow dogs. These irresponsible actions put vulnerable populations at risk of serious maulings, and owners of bona-fide service dogs say people misrepresenting themselves and their pets in stores, restaurants and even airports has led to a backlash against disabled people truly in need of their service dogs. To further their agenda, pit bull lobby groups are also promoting pit bulls as fake “Therapy Dogs”. Emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, comfort dogs and companion dogs are terms that describe animals that provide comfort. They have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, and as a result do not qualify as service animals under ADA regulations.
PIT BULLS ARE A JOURNALISM ISSUE
Journalists and editors across North America find themselves under attack by pit bull advocates when they write articles exposing the truth about pit bull mauling numbers and related pit bull issues. As J. Thomas Beasley put it, “Fueled by single-purpose organizations like Animal Farm Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society and the National Canine Research Council, all these groups exist solely to advocate for Pit Bull type dogs — and to silence anyone who dissents”.
Despite the protests of pit bull enthusiasts to the contrary, only a small fraction of pit bull attacks are actually covered by the news media. Editors are reluctant to publish reports of attacks, or to name the breed in many attacks, even though they have the right to pressure local police departments for correct information — all as a result of relentless media harassment in the past few years,