Dog aggression is a complex phenomenon, but some see certain breeds as the most aggressive dog breeds that are most likely to attack. Some studies even suggest that certain breeds are responsible for more attacks than others. Still, regardless of statistics or the dog’s breed, if a dog attacks and causes injury, victims can pursue legal action against its owner.
Fatal Dog Attack Statistics by Breed
Every single day in America, there is an average of 866 emergency room visits and 26 hospitalizations related to dog bites, reports the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.
Researchers compiled a list of dog bite attacks that resulted in human fatality from 1979 to 1998. They searched news accounts and used the Humane Society’s registry databank. The report was published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA).
They found that the breeds responsible for the most fatal attacks were:
- pit bull-type;
- German shepherd;
- malamute; and
- wolf-dog hybrid.
Blacklisted Dog Breeds
Some homeowners insurance companies have “blacklisted” certain breeds, charging higher premiums if a dog of a certain breed is kept on premises. The insurance companies enforce certain policies that owners of dangerous breeds must follow, from paying higher premiums to taking their dog to training classes.
It’s interesting to note that some cities and counties have actually banned certain breeds. Dozens of cities in Iowa have banned pit bulls, for example. Some cities even classify certain breeds, like pit bulls, as dangerous or vicious regardless of the individual dog’s previous behavior.
Other Dog Qualities that Increase Risk of Attack
However, some have argued against breed-specific bans. The researchers who published the report in the JAVMA even note that enforcement of such ordinances is hard because of the difficulty in identifying a dog’s breed. Further, they acknowledge that attacks by certain breeds may be more newsworthy than others, which may have led to “differential ascertainment of fatalities by breed.”
If not handled and trained correctly, or if provoked or threatened, any dog may become aggressive and attack. Research reports also show that there are other qualities that may increase risk of a dog attack.
According to a 1994 study published in Pediatrics, other factors that may increase the risk of attacks are:
- male gender (six times as likely to bite than females);
- intact dogs (over twice as likely to attack than neutered dogs); and
- being chained (almost three times more likely to bite than dogs that are unchained.)
The bottom line is that there are several factors that influence whether a dog attacks. Whatever the dog’s breed, if it attacks, victims can pursue compensation for their damages from the dog’s owner.
Des Moines Dog Bite Lawyer Explains Iowa Dog Bite Laws
Iowa’s laws are pretty clear about dog bites; except in cases of known rabies and victim provocation, the dog owner is legally liable for the victim’s injuries, and in some cases, the emotional distress of witnesses to the attack.
If you, your child, or another of your loved ones recently suffered a dog bite attack, contact our office for a free legal consultation. We can explain how Iowa dog bite laws and local ordinances work, and how to best go about obtaining compensation for your injuries. Contact Walker, Billingsley & Bair today at (888) 435-9886.