The data confirms that serious dog bite-related incidents are not a breed-specific issue:
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is ineffective and obsolete given the number of different breeds and dog types associated with serious dog bite-related incidents such as fatal dog attacks. Furthermore, the number of incidents associated with each breed is more closely related to each breed's population size and its risk rate than to any "inherent risk" in a specific breed or dog type.
To reduce the number of serious dog bite-related incidents and improve public safety, the data shows that comprehensive breed-neutral regulations are the more effective and equitable solution because they address all potentially dangerous dogs and all irresponsible owners, regardless of the dog's appearance or breed. Public safety is not a breed-specific issue.
Meet Murphy, a pitbull-type dog adopted from a shelter that helped his human mom through hard times and also had no problem with accepting 4 more pitbull-type cousins into his family. In this short video, watch how Murphy and his family combat breed stereotypes and exemplify the inherent goodness of the human-canine bond. A big thanks to The Dodo's popular "Pittie Nation" short video series for continuing to *shatter* stereotypes about pitbull-type dogs.
All strong or large dogs (of any breed) can cause serious injuries or worse, fatalities. Over a 20 year period, 30+ breeds have been involved in fatal incidents in the U.S. alone. Just last month on March 7, there was a sad and unfortunate tragedy in Virginia when the family dog, a northern breed (Malamute/wolf-hybrid mix), fatally attacked an 8-day old baby girl. The attack happened when the baby was left unattended in her bassinet while her mother was preparing lunch in the kitchen. The dog was loved, properly cared for, had never previously shown any signs of aggression, and was described as "very friendly". It’s a tragedy that emphasizes the importance of always carefully supervising strong or large dogs (of any breed) when they are around infants and children - including loved and well-behaved family dogs. To educate on this point, below we list the 30+ different breeds and dog types identified in a CDC study that were involved in fatal dog attacks over a 20 year period in the U.S. - evidence that attempting to legislate dogs based on appearance or breed is an ineffective and obsolete approach for safety because a wide variety of dog types and many different breeds and mixes have been implicated in serious incidents.
30+ breeds and dog types implicated in fatal dog attacks (alphabetical order):
... the dog had previously shown no signs of aggressive behavior to any foster care worker, veterinarian, or the other young children in the home. This is simply a horrific tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the child that died
The fact is that any strong or large dogs (of any breed) can cause serious incidents - including dogs that are considered the loved, family dog. This highlights why breed-based bans and breed-specific legislation (BSL) are ineffective because there are many different dog types, breeds, and mixes that can become aggressive and cause injuries or worse, fatalities. And while comprehensive breed-neutral regulations are the most effective approach because they address all potentially dangerous dogs (regardless of breed) and all irresponsible dog owners, tragic incidents will unfortunately occur and the extensive breed list above is clear evidence that these incidents are not a breed-specific issue - proper training, supervision, and safety awareness is required for all strong or large dogs, regardless of breed.
Breed discrimination and breed-based bans are on the decline. In a recent (2014) national survey, 84% of those polled were against any form of breed-specific bans. Since only last November, 10 more cities in the U.S. and Canada have repealed breed-specific bans targeting pitbull-type dogs. And below, we highlight a few key points from a recent (2018) infographic analysis by Online Masters in Public Health titled "Pitbulls Aren't a Public Health Threat" (shared below with permission*) that considered facts and information relevant to pitbull-type dogs and concluded:
Pitbull prejudice is often based in stigma an shaky information - in reality, like all dogs, pitbulls are perfectly safe given proper care, treatment, and responsible ownership
Breed-specific bans are unpopular:
There is significant bias in media coverage:
Other key points:
The infographic is shared below*:
*Source: Online Masters in Public Health.
Click "Read More" to view the infographic if it is not displayed directly below.
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Insight, news, and analysis on issues and topics relevant to pitbull-type dogs.