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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bulls Kill 2-Year Old Girl in Topeka, Kansas

piper dunbar
Relatives identified the 2-year old Topeka girl killed by pit bulls as Piper Dunbar.

Father Interviewed
UPDATE 09/28/16: In a devastating interview, Donnie Dunbar, the father of little Piper, talks about the night his daughter was killed by two pit bulls. The dogs belonged to Margaret Jaramillo (Johnson), a friend who was temporarily staying at Dunbar's home. Some parts of the video are difficult to understand, but new details emerge, including more information about Jaramillo and her pit bulls, how Dunbar had tried to rehome them, the tarp and events that occurred that night.

It appears Jaramillo and her pit bulls had only recently started staying with Dunbar. Piper was likely not familiar with the dogs. "[Jaramillo] needed a place to stay," Dunbar said. "I mean she had been staying in a hotel room for three days. "Beautiful dogs stuck in a cage," he said and pointed to an outside area. "Two pit bulls in a cage that no human being, no animal, no convict should be put into," Dunbar said. He mentions placing up panels so the dogs could run free in that area.
"I don't want anybody to judge the pit bull breed because I have had them before. All my friends have pit bulls." - Father of child killed by pit bulls
On Saturday night, Dunbar said he started to watch a movie with Piper, "She fell asleep in my arms. We're in our home, our house," he said. Then Dunbar talks about how he has full custody of Piper and how hard he works to keep his baby. Referring to Jaramillo, he said, "I don't know what name she is going by now. She wakes me up and says, 'Where's Piper?'" The two began to search the home. "We went all over," Dunbar said. He called her mother then quickly called 911.

"The police showed up," Dunbar said. "They searched, they issued an Amber Alert. These men and women they took off around the neighborhood, going door-to-door so quick, you couldn't even see where they were. I was escorting the officers to the back, to the garage, camper, what have you [unintelligible] came back around, out my back door, I seen them searching by the fences, their flashlights [up by] the front gate -- they tackled me because they had found her," he said.1

"When I [unintelligible] those damn dogs, then I knew. They found her in the northeast corner of our front yard near the fence line," he said. Dunbar was then taken to the police department. He sat in the interrogation room for hours and did not know what was going on. Then Dunbar flashes back to the scene and explains the tarp. He said officers took a tarp from the back of his truck, "and they put that tarp over that area until the coroner got here and they could remove her."

Later Dunbar explains the "rehoming" attempt. "I told her I did not want these dogs here," he said. "I got a two-and-a-half year old." Dunbar and Jaramillo took the two pit bulls over to an apartment. "The guy called up an hour and a half later and said, 'You need to come get these dogs,'" Dunbar said. "We went and picked up the dogs. An hour after we picked up the dogs, that man's apartment started on fire, on 13th and Western. These are dogs from hell dude," Dunbar said.
Actually the dogs were man-made, selectively bred for nearly two centuries for explosive aggression and to fight to the death in a pit.

09/26/16: Child Killed By Pit Bulls
Topeka Police found Piper Dunbar, 2-years old, dead underneath a tarp in her front yard. She had been mauled to death by two pit bulls. Her father, Donald (Donnie) Dunbar, told WIBW the two had fallen asleep earlier that evening. Piper slipped out of the house without his knowing. The two pit bulls belong to Margaret Jaramillo, a family friend who had been temporarily staying with Dunbar, a single father, and helping out with Piper's care. Her dogs ended up killing his child.

Jaramillo said she was "running errands" when the deadly attack occurred and called 911 as soon as she realized Piper was missing. Jaramillo said her two pit bulls were in the backyard of the home and does not know how they wound up in the front yard where Piper was. Police responded to the 911 call at 814 SE Carnahan Avenue at about 8 pm Saturday evening. It did not take police long to discover the little girl dead under a tarp, where she died alone in the dark and rain.2

City Repealed Ban

In 2010, to the delight of pit bull owners and breeders, the City of Topeka repealed their longstanding pit bull ban. The ban had been in place since the early 1980s, when pit bulls first began to capture national headlines for horrific maulings and fatalities across the country. Now Topeka is just like any other unregulated part of the country. However, the tri-state region of Kansas, Iowa and Missouri still maintains the highest level of breed-specific laws in the country.

Margaret Jaramillo goes by multiple names on Facebook, including Margaret Johnson. From 2013 to 2014 she and her partner, James Johnson, are seen with three different pit bulls.
topeka fatal pit bull attacktopeka fatal pit bull attacktopeka fatal pit bull attack

09/25/16: Child Found Dead
Topeka, KS - A child who was initially reported missing Saturday night was found dead in the yard of her home after police arrived. Topeka Police Lt. Bryan Wheeles said a 2-year old girl was reported missing about 8 pm in the 800 block of SW Carnahan Avenue. Upon arrival at the residence, police initiated a search and found the little girl deceased in the fenced-in yard. Investigators determined dogs attacked her. Animal control seized two dogs at the scene.
“The child and animals were localized within the fenced yard area of the involved residence." - Topeka Police Lt. Bryan Wheeles, Sunday news release
The involved parties were taken to the Topeka Law Enforcement Center to be interviewed. The case will be forwarded to the Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office for review after the investigation, Wheeles states. Police did not release dog ownership information or the breed(s) of dogs involved. The last fatal dog attack in Shawnee County occurred in 2012, when 2-year old Savannah Edwards was killed by a "rescue" pit bull while visiting the dog owner's home.

Search-and-Rescue Deaths

At least two other dog mauling deaths of children first began as a missing child search-and-rescue effort. In 2012, 4-year old Kylar Johnson slipped away from his father in Victoria County, Texas. He was discovered dead 14 hours later, killed by a chained pit bull nearly a half-mile away. That same year in Donalsonville, Georgia, law enforcement agencies went door-to-door searching for Bryton Cason, 4-years old. They discovered him dead three hours later in his own yard, killed by a dog.

piper dunbar killed by pit bulls
1Brutal. Yet that is exactly what police had to do. We really hope readers think about this paragraph. Think about how well trained these officers are, "going door-to-door so quick, you couldn't even see where they were."
2Sunset was at 7:12 pm in Topeka and by the time police arrived (and potentially earlier) there were thundershowers.

Related articles:
12/16/12: 2012 Dog Bite Fatality: Rescue Pit Bull Kills 2-Year Old Girl; Nearby Restrictions...
09/22/16: Tri-State Midwestern Map of Breed-Specific Lawsfatal pit bull attack map

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What's Behind the Click and Bait Web Advertisements of Aggressive Shelter Dogs Available for Adoption Today?

Many Shelters Candy-Coat Dogs with Aggressive Behaviors in their Zeal to Increase 'Live Release Rate.' We Examine 34 Case Files.

more shelters adopting out aggressive dogs
Dogs from the 34 case files we examined from Sonoma County Animal Services.

Animal behaviorist and author Alexandra Semyonova provides analysis and a special report: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now

Examining Cases Up Close - Back in April, we were contacted about the "live release rate" trumping public safety at a California shelter. This is an epidemic across the country. In some cases, it borders on criminal. Dogs with serious aggression are being adopted to the public, sent to fosters, transferred to rescues and transported across county and state lines. They are being recycled back into communities instead of being euthanized due to the holy grail of boasting a high "save rate."

To examine the issue up close, we filed a public records request in July for 34 dogs, including all behavioral and medical notes, at Sonoma County Animal Services. We were alerted to these particular 34 files to examine -- this is not a "random sampling" of cases -- in order to review questionable and problematic cases. Also to review the over arching issue of live release rate being prioritized over public safety, and in many cases, being prioritized over animal welfare too.
You will read about dogs with serious aggression euthanized only after being adopted or fostered and returned. You will read about dogs with multiple aggression memos that management adopted out anyway.
In the case of Sonoma County, the files show that some shelter workers operate under a "climate of fear," the fear of personally interacting with some of these aggressive dogs, as well as, sending them back into the community. Staffers witness the aggression and document the behavior (in behavioral memos) and at least in the 34 files we reviewed, many of these memos by employees are simply ignored by upper management. The live release rate pressure literally trumps all.

Albuquerque Set the Stage

As was so eloquently stated by Jim Ludwick, an employee who helped spur the investigation into Albuquerque Animal Services adopting out dangerous dogs last year: "It is not a success, and it is not responsible, if we show sympathy for the dogs we see at our animal shelters, but have no concern for creatures we do not actually meet: the pets and children, out of sight, out of mind, who may pay the price if we unleash the dogs we should euthanize for public safety reasons."

As we were reviewing the 34 case files, Contra Costa Animal Services -- a county adjacent to Sonoma County -- was placed on the hot seat for adopting out a dog that attacked its new owner within hours. The adopters said the shelter told them the dog had "aggressive tendencies" but the issue was downplayed. Dr. Richard Bachman, the Veterinary Medical Director for Contra Costa Animal Services, said the same dog tried to bite a trainer in the face, yet it remained "adoptable."
A trend [Bachman] sees everywhere as shelters are judged by their live release rate. "So anything that leaves alive makes it look better statistically." Bachman said he believes the public is being placed at risk.
What we found in the Sonoma case files is not nearly as egregious as the practices at the Albuquerque shelter or the recent investigation into the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. We believe there is a single reason for this too. Some employees are resisting. They are documenting this aggression and questioning upper management. They share the "Ludwick perspective" of having concern for those who may pay the price when failing to euthanize for public safety reasons.

Animal behaviorist Alexandra Semyonova examined the 34 files from Sonoma County Animal Services, chose the worst case scenarios and provides a summary analysis.

We narrowed the cases down to 13 for this post, using only the worst-case scenarios. However, even that task was difficult, choosing the worst cases from the 34 files. So we developed a set of parameters for behaviorist Semyonova. Choose the worst-case scenarios when shelter upper management had knowledge of the aggression problem -- through emails, behavior memos and/or staff meetings -- but allowed the aggression continue, and even to escalate, instead of euthanasia.

Along with the summaries by Semyonova, we are providing the full case histories so that you can examine first hand the "evaluations," behavioral memos and vet records. You will see the intake, release and outcome histories as well. Some readers may find the case files cryptic (abbreviation heavy), but they are golden in supplying the truth behind the Click and Bait web advertisements of many seriously problematic dogs peddled by county shelters to the public as a "ray of sunshine."
Our Call-to-Action follows this section where we spell out how the public can request the uncensored behavioral and medical files of a dog before it is adopted. We recommend bringing a dog trainer with you as well.

Overview of Files by Semyonova

dogWhat the files reveal is consistent refusal on the part of the contracting behavior consultant, Megan Alexander (MA), a dog trainer who calls herself a behavior consultant, and of management to acknowledge obvious signs that a dog is a danger to the public and/or pets the public keeps. Only when undeniable liability issues -- not safety issues! -- become clear do they decide that a dog has to be euthanized. In some cases, they pass liability on to a rescue rather than euthanizing an obviously dangerous dog.
dogThe behavior evaluation looks very summary. There is a reckless interpretation of results, ignoring signs of danger, much too quick to say okay with dogs, cats and kids. Refusal to adjust evaluation in light of staff observations, which give a much better idea of how a dog will be in daily home goings-ons. Refusal to heed information from fosters and adopters, including bite incidents. Refusal to acknowledge what over-arousal, impulsiveness, inability to self-dampen means (RE increased risk). Insistence on considering only how a dog behaves when with MA. Worse yet, it's obvious that MA insists on repeating her "behavior test" until she gets the positive results she wants.
dogIt can in itself be legitimate to repeat a behavior test after a period of training and human interaction in a shelter. However, the repeat test must not be done by the trainer who has been working with the dog, nor with shelter staff the dog is familiar with. The point of the test is to see how the training has influenced the dog's reaction to someone it doesn't know and who is not a dog training professional. The re-test must show whether generalization of training has adequately taken place, not just whether the dog will now behave well with its trainers. It is furthermore unrealistic to expect trainers and staff who have become involved with a dog to objectively interpret results of a re-test. Any re-evaluation must be done by someone who is not involved in any way and who has neither an emotional nor an ego stake in getting positive results.
dog Another problem with the evaluation is refusal to consider both breed/type-specific traits and size of dog when interpreting behavior and assessing risk. - A. Semyonova
Please also read the special report by Semyonova that explains to the public what a behavior test is and the current conditions of these tests today in open admission (public) shelters:
Alexandra Semyonova is an internationally acclaimed animal behaviorist and author of The 100 Silliest Things People Say About Dogs. Academically educated in behavioral science and specialized in animal behavior, she has worked with dogs and their owners on a daily basis for more than 30 years. Visit her website at Nonlinear Dogs. View additional posts that Semyonova has provided commentary for in the past.

In Their Zeal to Adopt Out the Otherwise Unadoptables, Many Shelters Candy-Coat Dogs with Aggressive Behaviors

Amos is advertised as "all around perfect," but is a serial cat hunter and killer. Herschel wants you to "share lots of time" with him, giving him more time to bite you! Rainbow is a "ray of sunshine," but was returned by four separate owners. Jolene "absolutely loves people!" which is why the dog required four AC officers to catch and restrain her. "Rebel without a home" has been renamed so many times, not even we can keep up, passed off to a rescue to be renamed and rehomed again.
Nicholas is advertised as a "lovebug" and was poised to tear off a little girl's face while her mother filled out the adoption paperwork!
Marshmallow is allegedly "sugar-based," but fixes his stare on young children. Initially advertised as kid-friendly. Annie is advertised as a "friendly girl" that "body-crashes" when playing and scares even the vet! Lu Lu is "comical and curious" and life is just "one big party for her." That life came to an end after serious fence-fighting. Arnie is one "very special boy" who requires Solliquin to overcome chronic over-arousal. He became a "featured" adoptable dog in August for the shelter.
Advertised as fine with a "dog-savvy" cat? That tester cat was recently "retired" because it was attacked by a dog being temperament tested.1
Sissy is advertised as "gentle and sweet!" yet scares the bejesus out of some staffers. "Despite numerous memos to management regarding Sissy's aggressive behavior she remains available for adoption," writes staffer. Sparky is advertised as "caring and lovable" on April 17, even though four days earlier she had attacked two people, causing one of them to file a hazard report. Rufus had three different advertisements. By the third "rebranding," all signs of aggression were erased.

Summary of the Numbers

Of the 34 case files, 25 (74%) of the dogs came in as strays (ownerless). Of the stray dogs, 20 (80%) were pit bulls. 8 cases came in as owner surrenders -- 75% were pit bulls. There was one confiscation, a pit bull. Of the total 34 cases reviewed, 27 (79%) were pit bulls or pit bull-mixes. A total of 9 dogs were euthanized: 7 pit bulls, 1 American bulldog and 1 German shepherd-chow mix. In 3 of those cases, the dog was either adopted or fostered prior to being euthanized.

Part I: Worst Cases Euthanized Only After Foster or Adoption (3)

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing May 26, 2015
Nicolas has had a rough beginning in this world. But it hasn’t kept this sweet boy down. He loves humans and is happy just laying on the couch or lounging on your bed. He recently has been in foster care and his parents report that he is a lovebug. He loves to ride in the car, walks great on a leash and plays with toys all the time. Nicholas is kid friendly and would be happy with a dog-savvy cat in his home. He would like to be the only K9 baby in the house. Stop by and meet this sweet boy today.
Download Full Record
American bulldog - Age 4-years old - Male - 95 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 4.5 months
Summary: Intake as stray May 13, 2015. Evaluated May 20, 2015 and again Sep 9, 2015 by MA as okay with kids 8-years old and up, okay with dog-savvy cat, okay with dogs, advertised as "kid friendly," but as wanting to be "the only K9" in a home. The dog returned to foster Sep 9, 2015. There he attacked a passing dog on the street on Sep 15, 2015, after which manager APPROVED this dog for adoption on Sep 23, 2015. While the foster was at the counter filling out the adoption paperwork, Nicholas suddenly fixated (stared at) and growled at the foster's daughter -- a girl he knew well and had gotten along with in the foster period. Instead of immediately increasing distance by removing this threatening 95 lb dog, MA told the child to stand up from the chair she was sitting on. Nicholas lunged at the girl's face and was only prevented from removing that face from the child's skull by MA throwing her arm up between the dog's jaws and the girl's face. The foster was nevertheless allowed to take this dog home with her. Only after this attempted mauling in MA's personal presence, did MA and manager decide this dog should be euthanized. The foster did this on Sep 28, 2015. Concerned about live release rates, the shelter lists this euthanization as "died in foster" care.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing June 3, 2015
Looking for a ray of sunshine? Well look no further than Rainbow. Her smile says it all and you won’t be disappointed. She loves her humans so if you are up to cuddles, walks, or playing, she will be overjoyed. Rainbow is a young dog who could use some training. Signing her up for an obedience class would be a great way to learn new things and develop a bond. Rainbow is kid friendly, dog-social, and fine with a dog-savvy cat. Come meet the happiest girl on earth today! I WILL BE AT THE SONOMA COUNTY FAIR ON FRIDAY AUGUST 7TH, COME SEE THERE! (IF I DON’T GET ADOPTED ON THE 7TH, I WILL BE THERE ON AUGUST 8TH AS WELL.)
Download Full Record
Pit bull mix - Age 2-years old, 4 months - Female - 60 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 6 months
Summary: Intake as stray March 9, 2015. Evaluated by MA as friendly, okay with dogs and cats, kids teens and older. Adopted March 24, 2015, returned the next day because other family members didn't want a pit bull in the home. Adopted April 4, 2015, returned one month later because she was biting at the adopter's son. MA calls adopter, they agree it's just "mouthy," not aggression. Still advertised as "kid friendly." Staff reports persistent, repeated kennel aggression, including towards a member of the public. Manager is informed of this July 18, 2015. MA responds by saying this pit bull is friendly to herself, so it must be okay. Adopted July 28, 2015, returned the same day because of biting at an adult family friend. Adopted Aug 13, 2015, bit someone in a park on Aug 15 (adopter blames the victim for having thin skin that bruises easily), then on Aug 19, Rainbow tried to kill the family cat -- returned to shelter Aug 20, 2015. It is noted in a Sep 1, 2015 memo that Petaluma Pet Pals and The Tiny Pit Bull wanted to take this dog, but Rainbow was apparently euthanized on Sep 10, 2015.

NOTE: In late August, a different pit bull, named Clark, rescued by The Tiny Pit Bull violently attacked its foster. At the time of the attack, the foster had six dogs in her home.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter

Amos Moses

(Previously named "Butkus")
Adoption Listing Sep 14, 2015
Are you looking for Mr. Right? Hi, I am Amos and I am senior boy without a home. I want someone who will love me forever and will accept me for me. I want to do fun activities and I love going for walks. I love other dogs, and I am kid friendly but no kitties in my home, please. I am all around perfect. I would love to go to a training class to learn new things and create a strong bond with you. I am waiting to create an amazingly happy life together and a promising future with my new family. Come check me out today.
Download Full Record
German shepherd-chow mix - Age about 10-year olds - Male - 102 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 4 months
Summary: Intake July 15, 2015 as stray. Owner found, signs him over to shelter. (The dog was initially adopted out by the Nevada Humane Society in 2008. Its previous owner said the dog had a history of being a "runner and escaped often, digging out of their large fenced yard." The dog escaped 5-years ago and the previous owners were never able to find him again.) Evaluated by MA Aug 3, 2015 as friendly, mild interest in cats, okay with other dogs and kids age ten and up. Adopted Aug 15, 2015, returned Aug 18 due to severe cat aggression, not re-directable. MA re-evaluates, still finds that Amos is perfectly okay with a "dog-savvy cat" -- but advertised as "no kitties in my home." Adopted again Oct 9, 2015. Returned Nov 3, 2015 with report that he is obsessed with finding and killing cats. Constantly trying to escape to hunt for cats. Climbed a six-foot fence to go on a killing spree with adopter's in-laws' cats (killed several). Constantly tried to get at adopters' rabbits, chased chickens, stalked their cats. Door dashing to go on a cat hunt. Over a week later, management agrees to euthanize only after this return because of the cat-killing spree. Dog euthanized on Nov 13, 2015.

Part II: Worst Cases Nevertheless Adopted or Transferred (5)

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing July 19, 2014
Hi my first name is Heschel. Fun is my middle name and I am ready for lots of fun with you in my new home! I am a great size at 53 pounds and a great age at a year and a half. I love other dogs and would probably do okay with cats. I love new challenges. I like to play and show you all the tricks that I can do. I am attentive at obedience requests, I sit, stay, wait, and lie down. I know the agility course and I’m a great car buddy. I like to play soccer and I can entertain myself with toys. I am comfortable being in a crate, which will help me be successful with my housetraining needs, too. I need a special person to rescue me from shelter life and share lots of time with me. Are you my special someone?
Download Full Record
Pit bull - Age 2-years old and 9-months - Male - 53 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 9 months
Summary: Intake as stray July 3, 2014. Evaluated July 11, 2014 as friendly, lunges around on leash and bites it, okay with dogs and cats. July 30, 2014 official bite report is added to file -- it is assumed the manager would have seen this. Returned by first adopter within two weeks for hurting his chihuahua ("too rough play"), then returned several times by fosters. Many notes about over-arousal, jumping up and biting at staff (hands, clothes and HAIR! -- which means he's jumping up to head level and practicing the typical pit bull skull/scalp degloving move), arousal only intensifies if the dog is corrected. Manager notified of staff member's concerns Jan 16, 2015. On Feb 6, 2015 another memo (not official report) of a second bite incident with another volunteer. Adopted again as dog and cat friendly and "lots of fun" on April 2, 2015. On Dec 16, 2015 the dog's adopter reports he wants to rehome the dog because it's bitten two people. No notes after this.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing Feb 25, 2015
Hello, my name is Jolene. I am a spunky two year old girl who absolutely loves people! I am filled with glee when I go on walks, I already know "sit." and I am working on basic manners. I am extremely treat-motivated, which helps with training. I have a show-stopping face with a happy, energetic tail, and I will win you over with my positive attitude. I am dog-friendly and I can live with kids and a dog-savvy cat. I am ready for a family who has tons of love to share. Come check me out at the shelter today.
Download Full Record
Pit bull - Age 2-years old, 5 months - Female - 70 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 8 months
Summary: Intake as stray Feb 3, 2015. Showed serious aggressive flanking behavior towards ACO while being caught Feb 2, 2015. It took four ACOs to catch and restrain her the next day. Evaluated by MA as friendly, quiet, okay with dogs, cats and kids teens and older. Serious over-arousal -- hung self in kennel on collar; later tore her own cruciate ligament with her kennel jumping. Manager knows about this. Many notes of serious kennel aggression, over-arousal, severe threat behavior. Incident with circle of volunteers on floor with MA and Jolene, May 21, 2015. Staff member emails manager about it. MA continues to deny the dog is dangerous, lodges objection to staffer's comments. More notes about aggressive behavior. During walk-through with OSHA on Aug 28, 2015, dog seen "standing in the guillotine doorway curling her lips and growling," again emailed manager about aggressive behavior. On Sep 26, a memo that staffer is shocked Jolene is still on adoption floor. Advertised as child, dog and cat friendly, adopted on Oct 2, 2015.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing April 17, 2015
I am looking for a new friend to share their life with me so we can make some new memories. My name is Sparky and I am looking for you. I have been described as: cute, fun, funny, beautiful, adorable, caring and loveable. I love outdoor activities, people and other dogs. I am a handsome boy who is a very mellow three year old. I am a simple boy. No frills. No drama. Low maintenance. I know my basic manners sit, stay and wait at doors. Signing me up for a training class would help us learn new things together. Come on down and meet me today. Ask for Sparky!
Download Full Record
Labrador-doberman mix - Age 3-years old - Male - 70lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 2 months
Summary: Intake March 5, 2015 as owner surrender. The owner reports okay with dogs and 13-year old son, not okay with cats; barks and is over-aroused/protective around strangers; destructive and escape behavior when left alone; never bitten anyone. Evaluated March 9 as quiet and friendly, enjoys handling, okay with cats (!) and dogs, okay with kids depending on introduction (big red flag here -- what child never has unexpected friends over?). On March 10, the veterinarian reports having to muzzle this dog to do the exam. On March 27, the first staff report is filed that the dog is showing serious aggression when his kennel is approached -- charging, barking, baring teeth. Two weeks later, on April 13, a double bite report is filed: unprovoked attack on two people in just minutes, attacks caught on video, after which this dog continued to growl and lunge at everyone in the area. This memo and report were followed-up the next day by an email to MA and phone contact with her. On April 17, this dog was advertised as "caring and loveable." The ACO who the dog tried to attack on April 13 objects to this and warns that he will be filing a hazard report. MA responds by saying she did a re-test (April 14) and that no matter what she did, she couldn't get this dog to show snapping or biting behavior. Her conclusion: He's nice to me, so everyone else must be making it up. The file shows that not all staff are comfortable with this. On April 25, a staff member files a memo confirming the ACO's account of the serial attack. Two days later, management looks at the video and decides to resort to gaslighting -- management implies that it's the ACO's own fault for startling the dog, and says the behavior might have been "just jumping up." The bitten, highly experienced ACO feels he has to repeat his first-hand account, files a memo on April 28 repeating that this was an ATTACK and the only thing that stopped a disaster was that the dog was leashed and the volunteer handler managed to hold onto the leash. By May 12, a full month after the incident, MA recruits the intern (second target of the serial attack) to tell her story. This volunteer reports that the attack was silent and without warning, but that she didn't really see what happened...and she hopes that Sparky gets adopted.  On May 13, Petaluma Pet Rescue took Sparky. Coming soon to your neighborhood.

NOTE: It seems strange that an experienced ACO would need witness affirmation when he says a dog bit him. It seems even stranger that MA, who did not see the incident, actively recruits others -- including management (Brian Whipple) and a mere volunteer -- to contradict the experienced ACO. This is work floor bullying. Unfortunately, it's now common practice. ACOs and shelter staff who have been working for years, even decades, in public service at a shelter become work floor "deviants" when the new "live release above all" policy is introduced. They find themselves confronted by managers who implicitly put live release above public safety. They suddenly have to work with self-described "behavior experts" who are in fact nothing more than self-educated or club-educated dog trainers. They are often treated as inferior to these dog trainers, as well as to any untrained volunteer who walks in and happens to please the dog trainer. If they express concern about public safety, these ACOs are ganged-up on and gaslighted by "live release" believers, much as this one was. They can be threatened with loss of their jobs.
dogWhen dissident staff members refer to a "climate of fear," it's not only dangerous dogs they mean, but also this now rampant work floor bullying and psychological abuse.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


(Previously named "Ruckus" previous to that "Pete")
Adoption listing April 29, 2015
Looking for an exercise buddy? Well I am your man. I’m in search of someone who is up to go on adventures with me. I walk well on a leash and I’m currently learning some basic manners. I love to learn new things and I want to be part of your life. I am a fun, dog-social, and very loving boy. If you think we might be a good match, I’d like to hear from you…ask for Rufus. I am Western Farm Center’s Dog of the Week! With my adoption you will receive a voucher good for a free leash and collar, a bag of premium dog food, and a bag of premium treats. I am available for $25 plus dog license if applicable.
Download Full Record
Pit bull-mix - Age 2-years old, 10 months - 64 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 1 year
Summary: Intake Aug 21, 2014 as stray. Evaluated as friendly, okay with dogs if properly introduced, no cats. Adopted Sep 19, 2014. Returned March 4, 2015 by this adopter due to aggression problems -- attacked their small dog, attacked dogs at a park, growled at their 15-year old daughter, growled at the wife, does fine with the other pit bull in the home. MA re-evaluates Rufus on March 15, 2015, still finds him friendly, safe with other dogs ("especially calm, submissive females"), no cats, okay with kids 15-years and older. March 23, MA calls previous owner who states the growling at his wife might have caused her to have a "flash back" from a previous bite by a different dog (again sanitizing reasons for the owner surrender). Several reports of persistent, serious kennel aggression follow (jumping, charging, biting at gate and hands). Manager informed July 18, 2015. Nevertheless chosen as ideal demo dog for volunteer training course that included many kids under 18. Adopted as "fun, dog-social, and very loving boy" on Aug 22, 2015.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


(Previously named "Rebel" previous to that "Quip")
Adoption listing May 28, 2015
Rebel without a cause…well I am more Rebel without a home! I am a ten month old boy who is learning a lot at the shelter. I’m the sweetest, smartest and yes, the most handsome boy you’ll ever find. I know how to sit and wait at doors and I’m working on shake. I am highly treat-motivated so that makes teaching me new things a blast. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE toys, squeaky or any other toys! I can entertain myself all day long with those fun things, but I would love a forever companion to take me to training classes and on daily walks. I like other dogs and would do best with kids who are older though I’m nice to young kids too. I would love an active home to help me work off my puppy energy, and it would be best if there were no kitties in the home – too much fun to chase! If you are looking for a lots of fun, entertainment, and affection, then look no further than me.
Download Full Record
Pit bull - Age about 2-years old - Male - 58 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 5 months
Summary: Intake as owner surrender March 13, 2015, was an outside dog. Evaluated by MA as friendly, okay with dogs and teenagers, no cats. Nevertheless advertised as okay with younger children. Adopted June 19, 2015 returned June 25, 2015 due to "high energy," unpredictable food and location guarding, aggressive towards 8 year-old son, growled, bared teeth, then bit adopter when she tried to get him off the couch. Manager informed July 1, 2015, again July 13. Two fosters (adults) see high energy (ie, over-arousal), mouthiness, but no food or location guarding. Returned to shelter July 11, 2015. Staff reports extreme aggression towards them and other dogs. Re-evaluated by MA July 22, 2015 still found friendly, okay with dogs, older children, no cats. On the same day as the re-evaluation, MA calls the adopter who reported biting behavior and persuades person to withdraw that statement, a statement that two staff members witnessed on June 25, 2015. Sent to Petaluma Pet Pals rescue on Aug 5, 2015.

Part III: Additional Worst Case Scenarios (5)

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing Oct 23, 2014
Hi, I’m Annie, I’m a friendly girl who needs training and a routine of daily activities. I did live with dogs in my past, but can be a little pushy while playing, and may need management when playing with other dogs. No kitties for me. Annie should go to a household with children ages teens and up since I do tend to guard my food.
Download Full Record
Pit bull-mix - Age 3-years old - Female - 63 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 6 months
Summary: Intake Aug 18, 2014 as confiscation. Kept with three other pit bulls in back yard by 17-year old son of resident. First kennel evaluation describes approach to gate with serious predatory threat behavior. Re-evaluation Sep 27, 2014 finds her friendly in kennel, nervous with handling, serious food guarding, serious predatory aggression towards cat, pulls hard on leash and lunges around, friendly to other dogs. Re-test Oct 5, 2014 shows some reduction in food guarding. Oct 9, 2014 again serious food guarding in kennel. Advertised Oct 23 as friendly, but "pushy" with other dogs, okay only with children teens and older due to food guarding, no cats. Oct 25 a staffer reports aloofness then sudden over-arousal and jumping at people when Annie was out "on a visit." When this staff member tried to leash and calm Annie, Annie jumped up and bit staffer's arm, no broken skin but deep bruising. On Dec 5, 2014, staffer reports success in training not jumping, sees no mouthiness, does see body-crashing when playing (calls this dangerous for children). Jan 16, 2015, manager is informed by email that this dog seems dangerous. Two weeks later, MA states: "When I went into her kennel she rolled over for belly rubs."

NOTE: On every single veterinary report, the vet notes in capital letters: CAREFUL.
dogThis dog was adopted Feb 28, 2015 by people who own a tea cup chihuahua. Staffer notes that adopter was warned Annie could hurt the chihuahua with her rough play -- but no one bothered to protect the chihuahua by telling these people they couldn't have this particular pit bull.
dogThis is a 63 lb dog that has numerous serious aggression issues (food guarding, intense cat predation, jumping and biting at people), deficient impulse control, and deficient bite inhibition, a dog that even the vet found a bit scary, and that will be hard to control on a leash as she pulls and lunges. This is a good example of live release rate trumping public safety.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter

Lu Lu

(Previously named "Lorelei")
Adoption listing May 13, 2015
Comical, curious Lu Lu. If you’re searching for a friend to make you laugh, look no further. Run, splash, catch, leap…life is one big party for her. Shh, don’t tell her she’s grown up, she’s still a bouncy puppy at heart. She wags her tail so hard her head wobbles and her feet dance, she is that happy to meet you. She adores older children and might enjoy the company of another large dog. No cats for this girl. She needs an experienced home that will continue her training to put her playful, inquisitive nature to good use. Three year old Lu Lu is good on a leash with a Sensation harness and seems housebroken. Looking for a companion for summer adventures? Lu Lu is your girl. Come meet her and prepare to be charmed!
Download Full Record
Pit bull - Age 4-years old - Female - 50 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 7 months
Summary: Intake Dec 19, 2014 as stray. Evaluated Dec 28, 2014 as friendly, okay with dogs, no cats (no mention of children). Reported Jan 16, 2015 to manager for aggressive behavior (growling, barking, biting at approach to kennel). Feb 5, 2015, MA says the dog was calm when she approached the kennel. MA evaluates this dog again on March 22, 2015, finds her friendly, jumpy in kennel, okay with kids 12 and up, okay with dogs, no cats. June 1, 2015, veterinarian reports high arousal, only partial exam possible. June 23, 2015, foster reports sudden over-arousal, leash biting, persistent mouthing at everything the dog could reach. MA calls this "attention seeking behavior, need to run," recommend adoption only where there's a large fenced yard. July 4, 2015, serious fence-fighting behavior reported. "Gold locks" to be put on kennel (which limits volunteers). Two weeks without notes, then manager Whipple okays euthanasia on July 18, 2015. On July 22, 2015 staff member added a July 18, memo. Reports the dog is nervous, high arousal, fence-fighting, and that director was informed again by email on this date.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing Aug 25, 2015
Marshmallow is sugar-based; he is all fluff and no fillers. Mashmallow LOVES to be with his people. He loves going for walks, which is a good thing, because he needs a little more exercise in his life (he could lose a few pounds, but who couldn’t?) He is sweet as can be, has good manners, and is eager to learn. Marshmallow is dog-social and kid friendly and he could live with a dog-savvy cat. Want to add a little extra sweetness to your life? Come meet this big hunk today. Marshmallow is available for $25 plus dog license if applicable.
Download Full Record
Pit bull - Age 2-years old and 11 months - Male - 100 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time 3 months
Summary: Intake July 11, 2015 as stray. First kennel assessment on July 16, 2015 reports approach gate with threat behavior. Same behavior again July 24 and Aug 1, 2015. On Aug 11, staffer reports growling, raised hackles, when checking water, cleaning kennel. MA evaluates dog on Aug 14, 2015, finds him outgoing, friendly, fails food guarding test on first try so MA keeps it up until he passes, found okay with cats, dogs and kids. Advertised as "kid friendly." On Sep 3, 2015, a staff member walks past his kennel with her 2-year old daughter. When the child was about one foot from the dog, the dog fixated and stared at her, stiff body, barking. The staff member states in a memo, "I certainly feel that advertising him as "kid friendly" could be dangerous." About a week later, manager Brian Whipple, James Dress and dog trainer MA respond to this report by raising the "kid friendly" age to ten and up. This pit bull was adopted on Oct 16, 2015.

NOTE: When a dog fixes his stare, stiffens his body, begins to growl or bark, that is a serious indication of intent to attack. Let's hope Marshmallow went to a neighborhood where no one has a toddler-age child. Let's also hope no child ever tries to take something edible from this dog. A professional dog trainer can fairly easily train a dog not to guard food, but this does not mean the dog has immediately generalized this to all other adults or to children.

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


Adoption listing June 13, 2016
Sissy's family had to move and could not take her with them. She lived her whole life outside with little or no exposure or socialization to the world around her, so while she's been with us she's learning a lot & has come far! Sissy now knows how to walk nicely on a leash, how to sit, wait, lay down & shake on cue! She is so loving, gentle and sweet! Sissy likes other dogs, seems a little too interested in cats to live with one and should have a home with children teen & older. Sissy is available for $25 plus dog license if applicable.
Download Full Record
Catahoula-pit bull mix - Age 4-years old - Female - Weight unknown
Total shelter intake/foster time 4 months
Summary: Intake as owner surrender February 18, 2016. Evaluated by MA Feb 24 as okay with teens and older, friendly with dogs but no cats. Play style as "bouncy." Memos from staff members about Sissy's aggressive behavior begin March 18, "alarm barking" and charging kennel door, hackles up, eyes dilated and "tail straight up." On March 28, MA moved Sissy to a kennel with less traffic and stimulation. On Apr 1, a staffer notes the alarm barking has changed to "wanting to attack me." A May 4 memo states, "Despite numerous memos to management regarding Sissy's aggressive behavior she remains available for adoption." By June 13, there were 16 memos documenting the dog's aggressive behavior. On June 15, staffer interacts with person promoting the dog for adoption on Facebook and reminds person, "I've seen the posts on Facebook and it never talks about the aggressive behavior [person] just witnessed." By June 22, there are 18 memos detailing the dog's aggressive behavior and five memos indicating extreme fear reactions at other (unpredictable) moments, leading up to a June 22 memo stating, "Unclear as to why this dog would be desirable. Unclear as to why this dog is an 'adoptable' animal." The dog is adopted June 30 under the circumstances of being "baby sat" while its "new owners are on vacation."
dogGiven this dog's history (isolated in someone's yard from her puppy days) and the combination of both extreme fear and extreme aggression, this case is a good example of disregarding both public safety and the well-being of the dog. Dogs with extreme fear issues have to be placed carefully if their life isn't to become one of extended misery, since few people really know how to help a dog with extreme socialization and fear issues. A dog with fear and extreme aggression issues is not only at risk as far as its well-being goes -- it's also dangerous to keep, the more so if it's a large dog. Sissy just might end up not hurting anyone, but her chances of also being happy in life haven't been sufficiently guarded.     

adoption listing advertisement - sonoma county animal shelter


(Previously named "Gizmo")
Adoption listing by Aug 2016
Arnie is certainly one very special boy. When he first arrived at the shelter in late November, Arnie was not sure about his surroundings; he was experiencing kennel stress and some leash frustration. With a lot of work, a lot of love and a lot of kindness, Arnie has come so far! Today, he walks well on a leash and knows his basic cues like sit, lay down and wait at the door or gate. Arnie would make a truly wonderful companion. Arnie loves playgroups with other dogs and have we mentioned how much he enjoys rides in the car? Arnie joins us on our group pack walks and is the rock star of our group!
Download Full Record
Pit bull - Age 2-years old - Male - 57 lbs
Total shelter intake/foster time Nov 25, 2015 to present (10 months so far)
Summary: Intake Nov 25, 2015 as stray. Evaluated Dec 9, 2015 as friendly, predatory towards cats, okay with dogs, "bouncy popping" play style (ie, over-aroused), children teens and older. Many reports of escalating leash-aggression, kennel aggression, attempts to bite staff the dog knows well. March 17, 2016, supervising ACO Kevin Davis emails staffer (cc Whipple) that he received emails about staffer's concerns, passed them on up the chain of command, now washes his hands of all responsibility. No response from Whipple. Extensive memos (over a dozen) about how difficult the training is going -- dog is chronically over-aroused and biting at the leash (escalating to biting human arm if corrected). In the end, Solliquin is prescribed. There are no behavioral memos after June 19, 2016 and no vet notes after July 22, 2016 when a Solliquin refill was requested.2

NOTE: On August 7, 2016 Arnie was one of the "Featured Adoptable Dogs" on the Sonoma County Animal Services website: "Arnie was laying in the warm sunshine and when we approached his tail just naturally began to wag...he couldn't even see us and his tail was wagging like that...We said his name and this very sweet boy lifted his head up to greet us and our hearts nearly exploded ~ those eyes, those ears, that sweet smile! ..."

Call-To-Action: Request the Uncensored Behavioral and Medical Files Prior to Adopting a Dog from Any Shelter

In the case of Sonoma County, there is no policy requiring the disclosure to the adopter of previous concerns. However, any potential adopter can ask. Regardless of what policy is in place, you have the right to request all behavior memos, medical memos and bite records for a dog prior to adoption. We strongly encourage the public to do so. What runs rampant in the Sonoma files is the "diminishing" of previous aggression and bites; bites often turn into "just mouthiness."

If for some reason the shelter hesitates at your request, or worse, refuses it, do not walk out of the facility, RUN. There is nothing more telling than deliberately withholding a dog's behavior and medical history from a potential adopter. Use the summaries written by Semyonova to help you understand shelter terminology like "bouncy." Download one of the actual case files so that you can review first hand. Always heed the "length of time" at the shelter and number of returns too.

When Adopting From a Shelter

  • Do your research
  • Go in with questions
  • Bring a trainer with you to the shelter to evaluate for signs of aggression3
  • Request all behavior records for the dog
  • Request all medical records for the dog
  • Request all "outcomes" for the dog (if the dog was returned to shelter)

It is critically important to understand that "disclosure" is not the same as "full disclosure." In order to gain full disclosure, you need to see the complete case file. While the intentions of many adoption facilitators are good, and their work certainly is difficult, the holy grail of "live release rate" and charged emotions often defeats sensibilities. Your family or pet could end up paying the cost. Requesting these records will be much easier than "returning" a shelter dog due to aggression.

One of the excruciating parts in reviewing the 34 files is when owners, adopters or fosters felt guilty returning or relinquishing the dog to the shelter. Some felt guilty enough to restate their surrendering statement, when elbowed to, in order to diminish or eliminate the aggressive acts (he just "wasn't the right fit," stated one). This belittling often leaves the next adopter with a heartache, or worse, a mauled or killed family or neighborhood pet or a serious dog bite injury to a person.

Animal behaviorist and author Alexandra Semyonova provides analysis and a special report: Behavior Testing Shelter Dogs -- A Summary of Where We Are Now

more shelters adopting out aggressive dogs
Recent Investigations:
2016: Fairfax County Animal Shelter - Virginia
2016: Contra Costa County Animal Shelter - California
2016: Austin Animal Shelter (no kill) - Texas
2015: Albuquerque Animal Shelter - New Mexico
2014: Stamford Animal Shelter - Connecticut

Related articles:
09/20/16: Nonprofit Examines What's Behind the 'Fabled' Click and Bait Web Advertisements...
04/29/16: 2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Pit Bull Rehomed by Humane Society Kills Newborn Baby
11/18/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Newly Adopted Rottweiler Kills Owner in Madison County
08/06/15: 2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Recently Adopted Out Pit Bull Kills 6-Year Old Boy...

1A dog-savvy cat is a cat that is unafraid of dogs. Quite likely now, after the last attack, the Sonoma County animal shelter's "retired" temperament testing cat, named Kuma, is not so "dog-savvy."
2Sonoma County fulfilled our FOIA request on August 3, 2016.
3Preferably a trainer who is not a fan of any breed in particular. The idea is to eliminate bias.

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016 Dog Bite Fatality: Family Pit Bulls Kill Woman, Injure Son in Conifer, Colorado

family pit bulls kill woman conifer colorado
Susan Shawl, 60, was mauled to death by her family pit bulls in Conifer, Colorado.

Pit Bulls Mauled her Face
UPDATE 09/01/16: In the aftermath of the deadly pit bull attack in Conifer, several new details have come to light. On Monday, 60-year old Susan Shawl was brutally attacked and killed by her two family pit bulls. The dogs belonged to her 36-year old son, Richard Shawl, who shares her home on Black Widow Drive. Susan died on scene. Richard suffered non-life-threatening injuries trying to save his mother. Richard was treated and released from Swedish Medical Center.

On Tuesday, Jefferson County Animal Control euthanized both dogs. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office also clarified on their Facebook page where the information about the dogs' breed stemmed. "Additionally, the information about the dogs' breed came from the dogs' owner," states the sheriff's office. This came in response to pit bull advocate Jason Schoshke accusing the sheriff's office of "speculating" on the breed in the aftermath of a horrific pit bull mauling death.

Neighbor Bonnie Bogart said the family pit bulls were a male and female. They had a reputation for excessive barking and were often penned outside. However, Facebook photos and posts show the dogs were "house" dogs too. The only citation on record is from 2008, when animal control issued a warning to Richard after his dogs got loose and were acting aggressively. Bogart also said Richard's father died very recently, in July. He has now suffered the loss of both parents.

CBS 4 reports that Susan was attacked in the doorway of her garage. The family pit bulls viciously attacked her face. Initially, Richard could not see what happened. He just heard the attack and called 911, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dionne Waugh said. When deputies arrived, they found the dogs on a deck and Susan Shawl mauled and bleeding heavily. First responders initially called a medical helicopter. Not long after, however, the helicopter was cancelled. Susan did not survive.

08/30/16: Dog Mauling Victims Identified
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office identified the fatal dog mauling victim as 60-year old Susan Shawl. Her son, who was also injured, is 36-year old Richard Shawl. On Susan's Facebook page, Richard John Shawl III is listed as her son. In May 2013, her son posted a photo of two family pit bulls as his cover photo: a white and brown pit bull and a nearly all black pit bull. According to comments, the black pit bull is male. Authorities plan to euthanize both family pit bulls today.

One commenter, Joe Scooby Casas, chimed in that he "delivered" the black male pit bull, indicating that Casas owns the parent pit bulls. In the same post, Susan called the black pit bull a "Little pooper butt!" Casas states on his Facebook page that he has a family of pit bulls: Diablo (similar in appearance to the black pit bull) and a female sibling. Both are offspring of a male pit bull named Dozer (dead for several years now). Both dogs are in Casas' Facebook photos.

The suspected fatally attacking pit bulls posted to the son's Facebook page. News 9 captured a photo of the official animal control notice left on the family's door: "Pit bull black and pit bull white."

Suspected fatally attacking family pit bulls

08/30/16: Family Pit Bulls Kill Woman
Conifer, CO - Two family pit bulls killed a woman and injured her son Monday night. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office responded to a dog attack in the 31000 block of Black Widow Drive, a remote part of Conifer, about 7 pm. The woman died on scene, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dionne Waugh said. Her son suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital. The mother and son owned the dogs, Waugh said. Authorities seized two pit bulls from the home.
"When we got here, we discovered that a tragic incident had taken place. Two suspected pit bulls had turned on one of the residents, severely injuring a female resident. She succumbed to her injuries and passed away on scene." - Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
The names of the mauling victims have not yet been released. The two pit bulls -- also described as pit bull-mixes by police -- are currently in the custody of Jefferson County Animal Control. We asked the sheriff's office to release photographs of the dogs. Video footage taken by local news stations depicts a white and brown pit bull. Photos on the son's Facebook page show a similar pit bull along with a nearly all black pit bull living at the family's home. We are waiting on confirmation.

Early Follow Up Report

The Denver Post reviewed dispatch archives captured on According to the archives, the woman was "barely conscious" when first responders arrived. They tried to keep her alive using a tourniquet as medical responders rushed in. The son -- first reported to be a teenager or in his 20s -- is now being reported as in his 30s. Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dionne Waugh confirmed the two pit bulls belonged to the son who also lived at the home on Black Widow Drive.
“There were the son’s pets. They weren’t neighbors’ dogs who randomly attacked.” - Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dionne Waugh
The dispatch archives also show that first responders called a medical helicopter to the scene, but it was subsequently cancelled. “This is a dog mauling, two pit bulls,” an officer called to dispatch after the chopper had been called off, reports the The Denver Post. The officer added, “It looks like the elderly victim is gonna be a code Frank” -- sheriff’s office terminology for a fatal incident. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office stated they would release more information this afternoon.

family pit bulls kill woman in conifer colorado
family pit bulls kill woman in conifer colorado
family pit bulls kill woman in conifer colorado
Related articles:
02/19/16: 2015 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics -
01/14/16: 2015 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs
11/24/14: Aurora Voters Favor Keeping Pit Bull Ban by Wide Margin in General Election...

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Pit Bulls Lead 'Bite' Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties

Dog Biting Incidents: 2008 to 2016

Pit Bulls Lead Bite Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties - Animal control or health departments in at least 28 U.S. states report that pit bulls are out biting all other dog breeds, including: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The oft-quoted claim by pro-pit bull groups that pit bulls "do not bite more than other breeds" is wholly false. Along with dominating bite counts, the pit bull bite is also the most damaging, often inflicting permanent and disfiguring injuries.

Montreal, Quebec
In a special addition, we are including statistics for the City of Montreal, poised to adopt a pit bull ban on September 27, 2016. The legislation comes three months after the brutal mauling death of Christiane Vadnais, killed by a neighbor's pit bull. On the eve of this historic vote, Montreal officials released dog biting incident statistics. Over the past 1.5 years, 362 serious dog bite incidents required police intervention. Since January 1, 2015, 137 people and animals have been badly injured or killed by pit bulls or pit bull crossbreeds. Pit bulls, which account for just 4.6% of registered dogs in Montreal, are responsible for 38% of all serious dog bite-related injuries.

"Montreal prepares to ban pit bulls," CTV Montreal, September 26, 2016 ( URL: Accessed: 2016-09-27. (Archived by WebCite® at

Port Huron, Michigan
In January 2016, after the back-to-back fatal pit bull attacks of 22-year old Rebecca Hardy in Port Huron and 4-year old Xavier Strickland in Detroit, The Times Herald published dog bite statistics for Port Huron, a city with about 30,000 people. In 2014, pit bulls were responsible for over half of all dog bites in the city. There were 61 reported dog bites in 2014, and 33 of those were inflicted by pit bulls. This is in contrast to the city of Toronto, a population of 2.6 million people, where pit bulls only inflicted 13 bites in 2014. The Province of Ontario adopted a pit bull ban in 2005. Since this time, attacks inflicted by pit bulls in Toronto, Ontario's largest city, have dropped by 92%.

"Still waiting for answers for Hardy, pit bulls," The Times Herald, January 25, 2016 (
Eric Andrew-Gee and Joel Eastwood, "Pit bulls were Toronto’s biggest biters, before the ban,", October 3, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-10-06. (Archived by WebCite® at
"Ontario’s pit bull ban is working and mustn’t be repealed: Editorial,", October 6, 2014 (

Cleveland, Ohio
In November 2015, Cleveland 19 published dog bite statistical data from Cleveland showing the results of two time periods. In 2014, pit bulls were responsible for 40% of all dog bites where the dog's breed was identified. During the next 8-month period, January 1, 2015 to August 12, 2015, pit bulls were responsible for 41% of all dog bites involving an identified breed. Despite this, the city's Chief Animal Control Officer, Ed Jamison, denied that pit bulls posed a danger to the public and also denied that the city shelter -- with a pit bull occupancy rate of 40% -- posed a problem to the shelter. Cleveland 19 dubbed the city shelter, "The Pit Bull Motel." (View: full data file).

Carl Monday, Carl Monday Investigation: Pit Bulls in Cleveland, Cleveland 19 News, November 4, 2015 ( (Archived by, Accessed: 11/05/2015, 16:38:04 UTC:

Hastings, Michigan
In October 2015, Hastings city officials discussed repealing their pit bull ordinance that prima facie declares pit bulls "dangerous." During discussions, Hastings City Police Chief Jeff Pratt shared statistics on dog-related complaints dating back to 2011. The statistics showed that 48% of all dog bites involved pit bulls, 41% of dangerous or aggressive dog complaints involved pit bulls and 66% of dogs shot by officers were pit bulls. Overall, “45.7% of our dog calls involve the pit bull breed,” Pratt said. “To me, this is a very significant number." These statistics clearly show that removing the existing ordinance, which does not prevent people from owning pit bulls, is injudicious.

Sandra Ponsetto, City asked to reconsider eliminating breed-specific dog ordinance, Hastings Banner, November 12, 2015 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-11-12. (Archived by WebCite® at
Sandra Ponsetto, Dog discrimination to be a thing of the past for City of Hastings, Hastings Banner, October 29, 2015 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-11-12. (Archived by WebCite® at

Orange County, Florida 
In June 2015, WKMG 6 News published the results of county dog bites over a 1-year period. From October 2013 to September 2014, Orange County Animal Services issued 331 citations to dog owners for failing to control their pets that resulted in a bite. Pit bulls and their mixes were responsible for 35% of all bites. Labs followed in distant second place with 7%. German shepherds and chihuahuas each made up 6% of all reported bites. The records showed that 7% of all bites occurred when someone tried to break up a fight between two dogs or rescue a dog being attacked by another dog and 2% of the owners were repeat offenders. (View: graphic chart).

Mike DeForest, "Dog bite cases examined," WKMG 6 News, June 2, 2015 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-06-03. (Archived by WebCite® at
"Web Extra: Animal Bite Statistics," WKMG 6 News, June 2, 2015 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-06-03. (Archived by WebCite® at

Portland-Area, Oregon
In March 2015, the Oregonian released results of an investigation of Portland-area dog bites since 2010. The investigation showed that there were 3,940 total reported biting incidents. Pit bulls inflicted 510 of these bites and were responsible for more bites than all other dog breeds. Labs, which outnumbered licensed pit bulls by nearly 5-to-1, fell at a distant second with 427 bites. Among the highest biting rates by breed, pit bulls were number one with a 120 rate, followed by chows with a 100 rate, rottweilers 87 and mastiffs 76. The lowest biting rate breeds were golden retrievers, poodles and pomeranians with 12 and 13 rates accordingly (View: graphic chart).

Fedor Zarkhin, "Pit bulls are No. 1 in Portland-area bite investigations, data show," The Oregonian/Oregon Live, March 16, 2015 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-05-02. (Archived by WebCite® at

Houston, Texas
In November 2014, ABC 13 Eyewitness News did an investigation into the number of dog bites in the City of Houston. This is the first known reporting of total dog bites in Houston on record in many years (and possibly ever). Statistics pertain to January 1, 2014 to September 24, 2014 and were supplied by the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control (BARC).1 Of the 1540 total reported bites during this period, pit bulls led with 518, double the number of the next topmost biting breed, German shepherds with 253 biting incidents. Labs followed in third place with 171. Notably, Belgium malinois were also represented in fifth place with 37 (View: graphic chart).

Jessica Willey, "Are you living near one of Houston's most dangerous dogs?" ABC 13 Eyewitness News, November 26, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-11-28. (Archived by WebCite® at
Houston Dog Bites, January 1st through September 24th, 2014, Source: BARC (Archived by

1 We do not believe bites reported in unincorporated Harris County were included.

San Diego County, California
Also in November, NBC 7 released an investigative report after examining 7,600 bite reports between July 2011 and June 2014 in the jurisdiction of Animal Services, which includes the unincorporated portion of the county, and the cities of San Diego, Carlsbad, Santee, Solana Beach, Del Mar and Encinitas. Pit bulls had the most bites, a total of 851 during the 3-year period. Followed by German shepherds with 349 (less than half). In the 11-month period of December 2011 to November 2012, dogs in San Diego County killed four people, five if one includes a San Diego pit bull that was taken across the border and within a week killed a little girl in Tijuana.

Wendy Fry, "Tracking San Diego's Serious Dog Bites," NBC7 San Diego, November 4, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-11-07. (Archived by WebCite® at

Des Moines, Iowa
Also in November, after city council wrestled with pit bull advocates about their ordinance that declares pit bulls "vicious," assistant Des Moines city manager Kandi Reindl presented data showing that pit bulls are still out biting the most popular dog breed despite being regulated. The fist six months of data from 2014 showed that pit bulls were responsible for 27 biting incidents, more than any other breed, out of 150 incidents. Labs followed with 14. However, there are 1,831 licensed Labs compared with 466 licensed pit bulls, according to licensing data. "We have more bites by a pit bull than a Lab and there are four times as many Labs in the city," Reindl said.

Timothy Meinch, "Pit bulls 'high risk' in new proposed ordinance," The Des Moines Register, November 17, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-01-08. (Archived by WebCite® at

Pennsylvania State
In September 2014, after a 20-month old boy was badly bitten in the face by his grandmother's pit bull in Manheim Township, the LancasterOnline wrote an editorial (Pit bulls and small children may be dangerous mix) and provided state dangerous dog designation statistics. Of the 562 dogs on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Dangerous Dog registry, pit bulls accounted for a whopping 41%. The next highest category on the list, mixed-breeds (non-pit bulls), accounted for 23%. "That is not even a single breed," notes the editorial. The single breed with the second-highest percentage on the list were German shepherds, accounting for just 7%.

The Editorial Board, "Pit bulls and small children may be a dangerous mix," LancasterOnline, September 19, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2015-09-23. (Archived by WebCite® at

King County, Washington
In August 2014, after a series of pit bull attacks in Western Washington, KIRO 7 obtained bite statistics from area municipalities and learned that pit bulls are 8.5 times more likely to attack than other dog breeds. Of the areas investigated, King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County and the City of Tacoma, only King County collected dog bites "by breed." In that county (presumably excluding Seattle), there were 178 total dog bites in 2013. Pit bulls topped the charts with 36 bites, followed by Labs with 28 bites. However, there are 16,651 labs and only 2,520 pit bulls registered in the county, which means that pit bulls are 8.5 times more likely to bite than Labs.

David Ham, "Pit bulls 8 and a half times more likely to attack," Kiro 7, August 4, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-08-04. (Archived by WebCite® at

Boston, Massachusetts
In June 2014, published an article titled, 'But, My Pit Bull Would Never Attack' May Be Wishful Thinking. The publication then plowed through several years of dog bite statistics. From January 2012 to June 2014, there were 661 total dog bites in Boston, which includes bites against human, animal and unknown victims. Pit bulls and their mixes were responsible for 27% (180), despite pit bulls only making up 3% of the registered dog population. In 2012, a state anti-BSL law signed by Governor Deval Patrick struck down the City of Boston's Responsible Pit Bull Ownership Act. Ever since, attacks by pit bulls have been on the rise. See: related graphic.

Megan Turchi, "'But, My Pit Bull Would Never Attack' May Be Wishful Thinking,", June 24, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-06-25. (Archived by WebCite® at

Hamilton County, Ohio
Also in June, after one of the worst attacks the region has ever seen, Hamilton County Health Department data showed that from January 1 to May 11, 2014, there were 38 biting incidents involving pit bulls and their mixes. In 2013, there were 74 total pit bull biting incidents. 2014 is on pace to top the total reported in 2013. Notably absent from the data is 2011 comparison statistics when Cincinnati still had a pit bull ban. Cincinnati repealed their longstanding ban in May 2012. The recent victim, 6-year old Zainabou Drame, suffered unimaginable injuries, including her tongue ripped out and her jaw torn off. Two pit bulls latched onto her face and pulled it apart.

Mark Nichols, "INTERACTIVE: Pit bull dog bite incidents in Hamilton County on the rise," WCPO Cincinnati, June 10, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-06-21. (Archived by WebCite® at
Tom McKee and Greg Noble, "Girl's family says 6-year-old suffered horrific injuries in pit bull attack in Westwood," WCPO Cincinnati, June 6, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-06-21. (Archived by WebCite® at

Franklin County, Ohio
In May 2014, Franklin County Department of Animal Care and Control released 2013 statistical data showing Nuisance, Dangerous and Vicious Designations by Breed (See: data chart). This data is a reflection of the new state law adopted in 2012. Pit bulls topped the charts in all three categories. Of the 208 total Nuisance designations in 2013, pit bulls received 79 (38%), followed by "mix" with 69 and Labs with 8 -- pit bulls towering over Labs by a 990% margin. Of the 291 total Dangerous designations, pit bulls received 124 (43%), followed by "mix" with 87 and German shepherds with 15. Of the 23 total Vicious designations in 2013, pit bulls received 13 (57%).

"Mother’s Day Dog Attack Sends Columbus Woman To The Hospital," WBNS-TV, May 12, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-05-13. (Archived by WebCite® at

Madison, Wisconsin
In February 2014, Alderman John Strasser introduced a pit bull sterilization ordinance to combat shelter overpopulation and a disproportionate number of attacks by pit bulls. Statistics complied by Public Health Madison and Dane County showed that: "More than half of the dogs euthanized at the humane society during 2010-12 were pit bulls … Pit bulls accounted for 12 percent of incidents involving dogs biting humans and 38 percent of the dog-on-dog attacks in the city in 2013. They also made up 21 percent of the cases of dogs running at large and 48 percent of abandoned dogs. Of the 15 dogs that were declared dangerous during 2011-13, 14 were pit bulls."

Dennis Punzel, "City hopes to take a bite out of pit bull overpopulation," Wisconsin State Journal, February 3, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-10-20. (Archived by WebCite® at

Bullhead City, Arizona
In January 2014, after a pit bull repeatedly escaped its yard terrorizing citizens and killing a pet dog, Bullhead City Police Department released dog bite statistics. The statistics showed that pit bulls were responsible for nearly half of all biting incidents. In 2013, animal control officers responded to 126 dog bites. Of these bites, (48%) -- 60 -- were inflicted by pit bulls and their mixes. The other half was spread among a variety of breeds. The release of the statistics and discussion of creating a stronger dog ordinance came just weeks after a Bullhead City man was fatally injured by his own five dogs trying to break up a dog fight in late December.

Cat Smith, "City to host forum on dog ordinances," Mohave Daily News, January 23, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-01-23. (Archived by WebCite® at

Medford, Oregon
Also in January, Medford City Council began considering ways to crack down on the growing number of attacks by dangerous dog breeds. In the past three years, 89 reports of dog bites were received, according to the Medford Police Department. Pit bulls were involved in half of the attacks, and pit bulls or their mixes were responsible for 8 of the 11 fatal attacks on animals. Councilor Karen Blair began looking into the matter after a series of aggressive dog-on-dog attacks. Blair wants to review how other cities have controlled the problem, which includes reviewing cities with pit bull bans, mandatory pit bull sterilization or insurance requirements.

Damian Mann, "Medford looks at possible pit-bull ban," Mail Tribume, January 9, 2014 ( URL: Accessed: 2014-01-09. (Archived by WebCite® at

Chicago, Illinois
In December 2013, the Chicago Tribune published dog bite statistical data logged by the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control during 2012. Of the total dog and cat bites recorded in 2012 (according to 2011 Chicago data, canines were responsible for about 98%), pit bulls and their mixes topped the chart accounting for 44.3% of all bites. The published statistical chart shows just how much of the pie -- total dog and cat bites combined in the City of Chicago -- pit bulls and their mixes make up from 2006 forward. In 2006, pit bulls were responsible for 26.5% of all bites; in 2008, this grew to 31.2%; in 2010, up to 39.2% and in 2012, 44.3%.

Robert McCoppin, "Pit bull overload floods shelters, strains rescuers," Chicago Tribune, December 5, 2013 ( URL:,0,1261355.story. Accessed: 2013-12-07. (Archived by WebCite® at

Lubbock, Texas
In November 2013, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that nearly one-third of all dog bites in 2012 were attributed to pit bulls, according to the city animal services department. In 2012, 84 of the 271 reports of dog bites were attributed to pit bulls (31%). At a distant second were Labs with 28. As of October 2013, 70 reports of dog bites were attributed to pit bulls followed by chihuahuas with 24; the disproportional trend continues in 2013. The article then cites defenders of the breed. One falsely claimed that pit bulls are one of the most "popular dog breeds in the country," thus the high number of bites. In truth, pit bulls make up 6% of the total U.S. dog population.

Gabriel Monte, "Nearly one-third of Lubbock dog bite reports in 2012 blamed on pit bulls, trend continues to '13," Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, November 15, 2013 ( URL: Accessed: 2013-11-17. (Archived by WebCite® at
1Does castration really alter male dog behavior?, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, July 30, 2012

Spokane County, Washington
In August 2013, after a man had his lower jaw ripped off by a pit bull, examined the records from the Spokane Regional Health District, which tracks all dog bites. Since the start of 2012, there have been 249 dog bites. Pit bulls account for the "vast majority of those bites with 56," 63 bites when adding their mixes. Pit bulls make up 3% of licensed dogs and account for 25% of the recorded bites in the city and county of Spokane. German shepherds and their mixes account for 6% of all licensed dogs and account for 11% of all bites. Labradors and their mixes account for the largest percent of licensed dogs, 14%, and account for 7% of all bites.

Aaron Luna, "Dog bite incidents by the number,", August 20, 2013 ( URL: Accessed: 2013-09-03. (Archived by WebCite® at

Hot Springs, Arkansas
In June 2013, after a 5-year old boy was mauled to death by a bullmastiff-mix, Hot Springs Animal Services reported that the "largest number of breed-specific bites were pit bulls at 21% in 2008 and 2009." In 2012, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 58% of all bites, according to Animal Services Director Dan Bugg. He added that in recent years, the number of pit bulls in Hot Springs and Garland County has continued to rise along with an alarming number of bites. The dog bite data was announced as Garland County discusses a vicious dog ordinance that places added restrictions on "high-risk breeds," including pit bulls and their derivatives.

Lisa Hutson, "Garland Co. discussing vicious dog ordinance," THV 11, June 17, 2013 ( AUTHORNAME. TITLE. SOURCE. . URL: Accessed: 2013-06-20. (Archived by WebCite® at

Fort Wayne, Indiana
In May 2013, The Journal Gazette published dog bite statistical data from Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. During 2012, 709 biting incidents were reported (human and animal victims). Pit bulls racked up 242 bites, 34.1% of all biting incidents. Pit bulls out bit the next closest breed -- German shepherds with 51 bites -- by nearly 5 times. The article also details a vicious attack by a pit bull-mastiff mix during the period. Angela Diamente was walking her leashed boxer, named Dulli, and pushing her 2-year old daughter in a stroller when the dog latched its jaws around Dulli's throat. The violent and bloody struggle to free her dog lasted 10 to 15 minutes.

Jeff Wiehe, "Dog bites leave marks well after attack occurs," The Journal Gazette, May 26, 2013 ( URL: Accessed: 2013-06-09. (Archived by WebCite® at

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
In March 2013, after two pit bulls killed a little boy in Walworth County, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) released 2012 dog bite statistics. Back in 2011, we reported dog bite data from the same agency for the years 2008 to October 31, 2011. Placing the years into chronology, the continued rise of pit bull biting incidents is sobering. We predict pit bulls will be out biting all other dog breeds combined in the Milwaukee area within 9 months. In 2008, pit bulls made up 33% of all biting incidents; in 2009, the percent grew to 39%; in 2010, 44%; in 2011, 45%; and in 2012, pit bulls made up 48% of all biting incidents.

Katie DeLong, "MADACC releases dog bite numbers from 2012,", March 7, 2013 ( URL: Accessed: 2013-03-08. (Archived by WebCite® at

Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Florida
Also in March, animal control records from Broward and Palm Beach counties once again showed that pit bulls were the leading biters. "No other breed came close," notes the news article. (See: Related Sun-Sentinel graphic.) In Broward County, pit bulls (151 bites) led the second top biter, German shepherds (23 bites), by nearly 7 times. Of all reported dog bites in Broward County (305), pit bulls were responsible for about 50%. In Palm Beach County, pit bulls (330 bites) led the second top biter, Labs (122 bites) by almost 3 times. Of all reported dog bites in Palm Beach County last year (1,411) pit bulls were responsible for about 23%.

Brittany Wallman, "Pit bulls far outpace other breeds in bite reports," Sun-Sentinel, March 8, 2013 ( URL:,0,3878298,full.story. Accessed: 2013-03-09. (Archived by WebCite® at

West Memphis, Arkansas
Also in March, West Memphis City Councilman Tracy Catt presented an Animal Control Commission report to city council members showing that pit bulls were responsible for 57% of the city’s 28 dog bites in 2012. The report states that of the 16 pit bull bites reported, 31% of the bite victims were children 14 and younger. 81% (13) of all pit bull bites happened at the dog’s house, while the dog was under the supervision of the owner. The report also states that pit bulls account for more than 30% of all dogs taken into the city's shelter. City council members are currently drafting a new dog ordinance, but have not released ordinance specifics.

"West Memphis Considers Dog Ordinance,", March 14, 2013 ( URL: Accessed: 2013-03-21. (Archived by WebCite® at

Royal Oak, Michigan
In February 2013, Royal Oak again made the list of cities reporting pit bulls as the leading biters (scroll to see 2009). Royal Oak is a suburb of Detroit and has a population of about 57,000 and a total area of 11.8 square miles. The city is currently discussing new regulations for dogs classified as dangerous (dogs with a history of biting, attacking or damaging property). Of the 32 dog bites and 21 "vicious dog incidents" reported in Royal Oak in 2012, pit bulls were responsible for 31% of all biting incidents and 52% of all incidents involving vicious dogs. Pit bulls, however, only make up less than 7% of all registered dogs in the city.

Catherine Kavanaugh, "Royal Oak setting new rules for ‘dangerous’ dogs," Daily Tribune, February 6, 2013 ( URL: Accessed: 2013-02-08. (Archived by WebCite® at

San Bernardino County, California
Also in February, dog bite statistical data from San Bernardino County came to our attention. San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control reported 629 total biting incidents in 2011. Pit bulls led all dog breeds with 188 reported bites, out biting the second place breed by a whopping 3 to 1 margin, German shepherds with 60 total bites. 30% of all biting incidents in 2011 were attributed to pit bulls. In 2012, the department reported 704 total biting incidents. Pit bulls again led with 185 reported bites, out biting the next breed by a 2.8 to 1 margin, Labs with 65 total bites. 26% of all biting incidents were attributed to pit bulls in 2012.

San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control Dog Bite Summary, 2011. San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control Dog Bite Summary, 2012.

Monroe County, New York
In October 2012, iTeam 10 Investigates obtained police reports from all major police departments in Monroe County over the course of one year. The news agency felt compelled to examine if their reporting was biased against pit bulls (as breed advocates had accused).1 What News 10 found is that pit bulls were the leading biters and heavy leaders in police calls. Of the 436 police calls for dogs in the City of Rochester, over half of them, 242 (56%), involved pit bulls. Of reported biting incidents in the suburbs, pit bulls were responsible for 28%, more than any other dog breed, followed by shepherds and their mixes with 17%.

Berkeley Brean, "Update: I-Team10 Investigation: Cop reports show pit bulls bite the most," WHEC-TV, October 30, 2012 ( URL: Accessed: 2012-10-31. (Archived by WebCite® at
1The irony is that pit bull advocates cried "media bias" before this investigation subsequently causing this investigation, which led to even more damning evidence against pit bulls.

Austin, Texas
In August 2012, reviewed 5-years of Austin dog bite data (2007 - 2011). Pit bulls and their mixes led bite counts responsible for 22% (1,288) followed by Labs and their mixes, which inflicted 12% (682). Austin ended its Pet Licensing Program in 2008/2009. Thus, the last year anyone can evaluate the population of dog breeds is 2007. Though pit bulls weighed in as the second most popular dog breed in 2007, making up 10% (1,551) of the registered dog population (15,871), pit bulls out bit the most popular breed, Labs representing 18% of the registered dogs (2,832), by nearly a 2 to 1 margin over the 5-year period.

2007-2011 Austin Dog Bite Data - Austin Animal Services
2007-2008 Austin Dog Breed Licenses - Austin Animal Services

Roanoke, Virginia
In May 2012, Roanoke Valley SPCA confirmed that the number one breed brought into the regional animal control center is pit bulls -- a situation mirrored by nearly all open admission shelters in the country. stressed that a single breed, pit bulls, have been "taxing resources for both the Roanoke city animal control and adoption services" for some time. Roanoke police provided statistics showing that between May 2011 and April 2012, 41% (397 of 978) of all dogs brought into the center were pit bulls. During this same time period there were 169 biting incidents in Roanoke. Pit bulls were responsible for 38% (57).1

Scott Leamon, "Pit bulls are number one breed coming into Roanoke's dog pound,", May 25, 2012 ( URL: Accessed: 2012-05-25. (Archived by WebCite® at
1Though technically the article did not show that pit bulls led all biting incidents, 38% is a very high percentage. It also must be noted that the dog population (by breed) of unwanted dogs in open admission shelters in no way reflects the dog population (by breed) in the community as a whole.

Malden, Massachusetts
In April 2012, after Malden City Council passed an ordinance requiring unregistered and new pit bulls to wear a muzzle when in public, Councillor Neil Kinnon cited city dog bite data in a clarifying article: "According to Animal Control fifty-seven dog bites were recorded from 2009-2011. Eighteen of the bites were committed by pit bulls. The next closest breeds that bit were German Shepherds, Bull Mastiffs and Dobermans, which recorded only two bites each. The data broken down in its simplest terms means pit bulls account for approximately 6.7% of our registered dogs and committed 31.6% of the dog bites."1

"Councillor Kinnon answers critics of Pit Bull ordinance," The Malden Advocate, April 11, 2012 ( URL: Accessed: 2012-05-25. (Archived by WebCite® at
1Under pressure from pit bull advocates, who didn't even understand the ordinance, Mayor Gary Christenson vetoed the measure, placing the "Maul" back into Malden.

Victoria, Texas
Also in April, after 3 pit bull attacks in 3 days, the Victoria Advocate reported that so far in 2012, data from Victoria Animal Control showed that of the dogs quarantined for biting incidents, pit bulls made up 28%, twice as many as any other dog breed. Pit bulls were responsible for 10 biting incidents, followed by Labs and chow-mixes each with 5. Of the pit bull incidents, one involved the death of young boy killed by a chained pit bull on March 25. Just prior to the boy's death, the Advocate upset the pit bull advocacy community by publishing this photo and a story concerning 3 pit bull incidents in one week in mid-March.

Sonny Long, "Victoria animal control responds to 3 pit bull attacks in 3 days," Victoria Advocate, April 30, 2012 ( URL: Accessed: 2012-05-25. (Archived by WebCite® at

Chicago, Illinois
In March 2012, Redeye Chicago published dog bite statistical data logged by the city's Commission on Animal Care and Control during 2011. Just over 1,830 animal bites were reported in 2011; canines were responsible for 98%. Notably, the agency separated pit bulls and their mixes into two categories -- a separation not done for any other dog breed.1 "Pit bull/Pit bull mixed" topped the list with 26.43%. When combined with the second category, "American pit bull terrier," (13.38%) the breed accounted for nearly 40% of all bites. Data from the City Clerks office shows that pit bulls and their mixes make up about 4.5% of the 37,546 registered dogs in the city.2

Mick Sawsko, "When animals attack," Redeye Chicago, March 21, 2012 ( URL:,0,2905321.story. Accessed: 2012-03-25. (Archived by WebCite® at
1It appears that pure bred American pit bull terriers have their own distinct classification. Failure to combine them into the overall "Pit bull/Pit bull Mixed" category creates misleading data.
2Though ranking far below pit bulls in biting incidents, German shepherds were the most popular AKC registered dog in Chicago for 2011.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Also in March, investigated whether or not pit bulls were "dangerous or docile?" The investigation came after a series of pit bull attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada. One victim, Sarah Chatley told the news group: "They went from tails wagging, to jaws clamping, in a split second ... I was down on the ground trying to protect my dog, and they were just ripping her apart. It was just so violent." Within the article, exposed the 2011 dog bite statistic data for the City of Las Vegas: "There were 364 reports of bites by pit bulls. That was the most of any breed. Next on the list were Chihuahuas with 122 bite reports."

Katie Crowther, "The debate over pit bulls: dangerous or docile?", March 1, 2012 ( URL: Accessed: 2012-03-02. (Archived by WebCite® at

Multiple Counties, North Carolina
In February 2012, investigated the "pit bull debate" and discovered that pit bulls led bite counts in at least 4 North Carolina counties. The group then back peddled by buying into the myth that pit bulls make up a large part of the dog population (pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population). The article states, "In 2011 in Pitt County there were around 250 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 41. In Onslow County there were 334 dog bites. Pit Bulls lead the way with 55. Craven County had 211 dog bites. Pit Bulls had the most with 37. Lenoir County reported 69 dog bites involving people. Leading the way was Pit Bulls with 14."

"The Pit Bull Debate, Part 2,", February 9, 2012 ( URL: Accessed: 2012-03-02. (Archived by WebCite® at

Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
In January 2012, when Fond du Lac City Councilman Rob Vande Zande proposed an ordinance that would prohibit new pit bulls, Zande provided research of the number of reported dog bites in the city over the past 5 years: "The percentage that is attributable to pit bull breeds has increased from 10.7 percent of the bites in 2007 to 33.3 percent of the bites in 2011." Zande also noted that he knows a resident who sustained a severe pit bull bite while delivering papers. The man incurred about $100,00 in medical bills related to his injury. Shortly after Zande's proposal, pit bull advocates bombarded Zande and he folded.

Laurie Ritger, "Fond du Lac considers ban on pit bulls,", January 21, 2012 (
A free reference to this article is located at the Wisconsin law firm website Miller & Ogorchock.

Pima County, Arizona
In November 2011, KGUN9-TV aired a segment titled, "What's the truth about pit bulls?" The show followed the grisly mauling of Michael Cook, a Tucson man who was attacked by his pet pit bull in August and subsequently died. Before his death, doctors were forced to amputate both of his arms and infuse the victim with over 100 pints of blood. Dog bite statistics from Pima County Animal Control over the last four years were also featured on the episode, and once again, pit bulls led all biting incidents with 848 bites, followed by German shepherds with 633, Labs with 496, Chihuahuas with 361 and Chows inflicting 231 bites.

Tammy Vo, "What's the truth about pit bulls?" KGUN9-TV, November 2, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-11-03. (Archived by WebCite® at

New York, New York
Also in November, the New York Post published updated dog bite statistical data from the city's health department. In February, the data showed that pit bulls were responsible for nearly 25% of all dog bites, now the data shows 28% -- over six times more than the second "toothiest" breed. Pit bulls and their mixes totaled 833 bites by November, compared to the next top biter, chihuahuas, with 128 "incisor incidents." City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said, "People refuse to admit that pit bulls are bred to fight, they have higher pain tolerance, stronger jaws, and they do not have the instinct to back down -- they refuse to submit."

Gary Buiso, "Leash the hounds," New York Post, November 27, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-11-30. (Archived by WebCite® at

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Also in November, after a pet pit bull, named Prince, nearly killed its 52-year old caretaker, Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) released dog bite statistical data showing that pit bulls inflicted over four times more bites than the next closest breed. From 2008 to 2011, pit bulls were responsible for 302 biting incidents followed by German shepherds with 68 and Labs with 40. TODAY'S TMJ4 -- who set out to "find the truth" about pit bulls -- takes a nose dive into decades old erroneous territory by comparing "shelter intake" dog breed data to bite data instead of "registered" dog breed data to bite data.1

Lindsay Morone, "Expert: Pit Bull attacks are quite rare," TODAY'S TMJ4, November 22, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-11-27. (Archived by WebCite® at
1Dogs that end up in open admission shelters are loose, unwanted or have bitten or displayed aggression and often times all three. Thus, shelter intake does not accurately reflect dog breed populations within a community. Pit bulls shoring up 40% occupancy at MADACC -- and open admission shelters across the U.S. -- is standard today; this in no way reflects the actual population of pit bulls, which makes up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population. (See: ANIMAL PEOPLE Editor Responds to Fact Cooker Article by Mark Robison)

State of Delaware
In October 2011, The News Journal reported on the City of Wilmington's pit bull problem and its renewed effort to enforce their pit bull ordinance, which includes: registration, sterilization, a lease allowing a pit bull to be housed there, muzzled while in parks and owners must be 21-years old. The article also lists state dog bite statistics. According to the Delaware Division of Public Health, from January 2008 to October 2011 there were 5,156 biting incidents (See: Data chart). Pit bulls lead with 1,003 bites followed by "unknown"1 with 884 bites, Labs with 479 bites -- less then half of pit bull bites -- and German shepherds with 401 bites.

Esteban Parra, "Wilmington cracks down on illegal pit bulls," The News Journal, October 30, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-11-13. (Archived by WebCite® at
1The "unknown" factor may be the result of some counties not tracking dog bites by breed.

Amarillo, Texas
Also in October, after an infant was killed by a family pit bull-mix, Amarillo Animal Control statistics showed that pit bull bites were three times higher than those of any other single dog breed in the city. According to Shannon Barlow, assistant director of Animal Control, pit bulls accounted for 123 reported bites in Amarillo in 2009-10, the latest period for which city data was available. The breeds with the next-highest reports of bites were Labs and German shepherds, each with about 40 biting incidents, followed by boxers with 16 and rottweilers with 15. About 550 total dog bites are reported to officials each year, Barlow said.

Yann Ranaivo, "Animal Control: Pit bulls responsible for most bites," Amarillo Globe News, October 4, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-10-23. (Archived by WebCite® at

San Diego County, California
In July 2011, after 75-year old Emako Mendoza was brutally attacked by her neighbor's two pit bulls, San Diego County Animal Services released data showing that pit bulls are the most prolific biters in the county. Of the 2,699 recorded dog bites in the past fiscal year, pit bulls were responsible for 389, nearly 15% (see graphic chart). Next in line, with almost half that number, were Labs with 199 bites and Chihuahuas with 174. To show how rare citations are issued after a biting incident, pointed out that only 290 citations were issued during this same period even though almost 10 times as many incidents were reported.

John Wilkens, "What's being done about dog bites,", July 16, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-07-29. (Archived by WebCite® at

Muskegon County, Michigan
Also in July, records from the Muskegon County Health Department showed that pit bulls were responsible for more biting incidents than any other dog breed for the past three years. In 2009, pit bulls produced 59 bites, in 2010, 75 bites, and in the first six months of 2011 already produced 41 bites. After two pit bulls brutally attacked a 60-year old Wyoming man, city lawmakers began discussing different pit bull regulations, including a breed ban for the City of Wyoming. The article also mentions a bill introduced by State Representative Timothy Bledsoe in June that would eventually ban the breed from the State of Michigan.

Bob Brenzing, "Lawmakers looking at pit bull bans," WZZM 13, July 27, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-10-23. (Archived by WebCite® at

Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio
In June 2011, the Public Health Department of Dayton and Montgomery County posted animal bite statistics of the last fiscal year -- June 28, 2010 to June 28, 2011. Of the 736 total reported dog biting incidents, pit bulls were far and away the leaders, responsible for 16% (117 bites). The next closest breed, "mix," was responsible for 64 bites and Lab-mixes with 46. The department also posted statistics from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Of the 693 total reported incidents, pit bulls were responsible for 14% (95 bites), again, nearly twice the number of the next closest breed, Labs with 58 bites, followed by "mixed" with 56.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County Animal Bite Report, 2010-2011 ( (Archived by

Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Also in June 2011, Severna Park Patch reported that from 2009 to 2010, there were 233 incidents involving pit bull attacks against people and dogs in Anne Arundel County. In that same period, the next closest breeds, German shepherds and Labs, caused just 93 incidents combined. Lt. Glenn Shanahan of Anne Arundel County Animal Control said that pit bulls lead all other breeds by at least two to one when it comes to attacks over the last five years. "The numbers say what they say. We're not making it up," Shanahan said. "It's demonstrably overwhelming." Officials said that pit bulls are also more frequently labeled "dangerous."

Jonathan Moynihan, "Pit Bull Incidents Outnumber Other Dog Attacks 2 to 1," SevernaParkPatch, June 20, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-06-20. (Archived by WebCite® at

Ventura County, California
In May 2011, the Ventura County Star reported that in the fiscal year 2008-09 -- the latest that statistics were available -- 1,617 animal bites were reported to the Ventura County Animal Regulation Department. Of these, dogs accounted for 78%. Pit bulls had more recorded biting incidents than any other breed (121) followed by chihuahuas (119). Monica Nolan, the department's director, said, "Pit bulls are a terrier breed, and they are built to grab prey and hold on to prey." Chihuahua bites "are quick bites," she said. To help soften the damaging news, Noland also said that pit bulls are among "some of the gentlest dogs I have ever seen."1

John Scheibe, "Pit bull dogs seen as both vicious and very gentle," Ventura County Star, May 13, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-05-14. (Archived by WebCite® at
1During this same year, a Ventura County pit bull savagely mauled to death 5-year old Katya Todesco. This incident was recorded as "one dog bite."

Maricopa County, Arizona
In March 2011, field manager Al Aguinaga of Maricopa County Animal Care told KPHO that pit bulls are the number one biting breed in the county -- inflicting 12% of all reported dog bites -- followed by German shepherds and chihuahuas. When asked if pit bulls are "truly more aggressive than other dogs, or are they simply getting a bad rap?" Aguinaga said, "Typically bites are more severe" and "people go to hospitals" and "animals are attacked or killed." Aguinaga also called out the pit bull’s physical strength. Referring to a recent pit bull berserking incident, he said, "It took five officers, a whole squad, to chase that [pit bull] down" Tuesday.

Steve Stout, “Pit Bulls No. 1 In County For Reported Bites,” KPHO Phoenix, March 23, 2011 (
URL: Accessed: 2011-03-24. (Archived by WebCite® at

New York City, New York
In February 2011, the New York Post published a tongue-and-cheek article about "pint-sized" chihuahuas and shih tzus, breeds among the top five biters in 2010, according to the city's Health Department. What's not so tongue-and-cheek is that pit bulls led biting incidents with 815, nearly 25% of all biting incidents recorded in the city. Rottweilers followed in second position. One hardly needs to state the difference between a pit bull or rottweiler bite and the bite from a pint-sized fashion accessory. Furthermore, it is irrational to assume that pit bulls and rottweilers make up anywhere near the majority of household dogs in New York City.

Lorena Mongelli and Kevin Fasick, "Tiny dogs major culprits behind record number of bites," New York Post, February 18, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-02-18. (Archived by WebCite® at

Sacramento, California
In January 2011, The Sacramento Bee published a story about Poppy Watson, who was bitten in the face by a pit bull in November. The article helped promote a fundraiser on her behalf, Popfest 2011. Restaurateurs organized the event to help Watson pay for reconstructive surgeries. Watson told the Bee that her face looked like "it went through a windshield" after the attack. The male pit bull, which had formerly slept with its owners, was put down after the incident. The Bee also noted that Sacramento Animal Care Services investigated 165 incidents of animal attacks and bites in 2010. "The vast majority of those cases involved pit bulls."

Chris Macias, "Sacramento restaurateurs organize auction to help dog-bite victim," The Sacramento Bee, January 19, 2011 ( URL: Accessed: 2011-01-30. (Archived by WebCite® at

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In October 2010, Pittsburgh Animal Control records showed that pit bulls comprise 5.2% of the registered dogs. Yet of the 133 biting incidents reported so far in 2010, pit bulls made up 40%. Animal Control Supervisor Gerald Akrie -- a shameless pit bull apologist -- tried to blame the disproportionate numbers on "knucklehead" dog owners. Back in April, Pittsburgh police officer Christine Luffey and her daughter were attacked by three pit bulls that jumped a fence. Akrie minimized that incident by calling it an "accident," requiring to fire off an email to Public Safety Director Mike Huss. Yet Akrie is up to his pit bull distortions again.

"Official Discusses Concern After Latest Dog Attack,", October 11, 2010 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-10-11. (Archived by WebCite® at

Memphis, Tennessee
Also in October, City of Memphis records showed that there were 388 biting incidents in 2009. Of those, nearly half were inflicted by pit bulls. Other biters included German shepherds and Chows. The My Fox Memphis news article notes that based on -- and other groups that track national fatal dog attack data, including -- pit bulls also cause over half of the attacks that result in death. The article comes several months after the deadly attack of William Parker who suffered a heart attack after being severely mauled by two loose pit bulls. Four other people were bitten and hospitalized in the July 20 rampage.

Jill Monier,"Dog Attacks Growing Problem," My Fox Memphis, October 19, 2010 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-11-20. (Archived by WebCite® at

Lynn, Massachusetts
In August 2010, when the City of Lynn was discussing the adoption of a pit bull ordinance, Police Chief Kevin Coppinger said that 51 biting incidents were reported in the city last year -- 29 involving pit bulls (57%). Coppinger added that there had been at least four pit bull attacks since July 10. The ordinance discussed defined pit bulls as "dangerous animals" with "powerful instincts for dominance" and "unyielding aggressiveness." The ordinance would require pit bull owners to register their dog; pay a $50 licensing fee; if a renter, to notify the landlord that a pit bull was on the premises and to muzzle the dog when off property.

Thor Jourgensen, "Kennedy to sign or reject pit bull ordinance by Friday," The Daily Item, August 19, 2010 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-11. (Archived by WebCite® at

Worcester, Massachusetts
In July 2010, City Manager Michael O'Brien recommended to City Council an ordinance intended to deal with rising public safety concerns about pit bulls. Councilor William Eddy, who has championed the city's adoption of a pit bull law, said that over the past three years, pit bulls caused 25% of all biting incidents even though pit bulls only comprise 2% of the dogs licensed by the city. The new ordinance would require pit bull owners to abide by supplemental licensing and registration rules, ensure their dog is leashed and muzzled when off owner's property, obtain landlord consent (if a renter), and post a warning sign on the property.

Nick Kotsopoulos, "Proposed rule would restrict pit bulls," News Telegram, July 19, 2010 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-08-31. (Archived by WebCite® at

San Bernardino County, California
In June 2010, after two deadly pit bull attacks, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a measure requiring all pit bull owners to spay or neuter their animals. Brian Cronin, Chief of County Animal Care and Control, said, "This year alone, we've had two human deaths, and four deaths1 in five years, because of pit bull attacks. No other death has been attributable to any other breed." He said that of the 686 reported biting incidents in the county in the 2008-09 fiscal year, 137 involved pit bulls (20%). He added that because pit bulls are the least likely to be adopted, the county must already euthanize about 1,300 annually.

Phil Willon, "San Bernardino County to require spaying or neutering of pit bulls," Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2010 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at
1Omar Martinez, Nathan Aguirre, Kellie Chapman and Shaun Lee McCafferty.

Clark County, Nevada
In May 2010, Clark County biting statistics were brought to our attention. Clark County publishes these statistics online. Biting incidents by breed during the 7-year period from 2003 to 2009 show that of the 6,798 reported incidents, pit bulls were responsible for 1,474 (22%). The next closest breed was the German shepherd with 671 (10%) incidents. In 2008, pit bulls out bit shepherds by more than three times -- 234 pit bull bites versus 77 shepherd bites. The same was nearly true in 2009, 215 and 88 respectively. Essentially, the Clark County pit bull community sold dogs that produced over 200% more bites than the shepherd community.

Franklin County, Ohio
In April 2010, Bryan Wagner, Chief Environmental Specialist for the Franklin County Environmental Court, testified in opposition to HB 79, a bill that seeks to repeal the Ohio law that requires pit bull owners to securely confine and leash their dog and carry $100,000 in liability insurance. Wagner said statistics show more bites are attributed to pit bulls than other dog breed. In Franklin County, 126 of the 333 dog bites (38%) reported last year were attributed to a pit bull. Wagner added, "I believe that pit bull dogs represent a substantial and real threat to the citizens of a crowded, urban environment such as Franklin County."

Statehouse Report by County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO), April 16, 2010 ( (Archived by

Toledo, Ohio
In December 2009, Toledo Lucas County Health Department data showed that pit bulls led the number of biting incidents from January 1 to November 8. Of the 380 total biting incidents, 65 were attributed to pit bulls. This accounts for 17% of all bites, despite pit bulls accounting for less than 5% of the county's dog population. Though pit bulls are regulated under Ohio and Toledo laws, the breed still led biting incidents. The Lucas County Dog Warden's office keeps track of serious bite injuries. Of the 150 bites listed as "serious" this year, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 42 (28%). In 18 of the cases, the victims were under 18 years of age.

Lou Herbert, "Pit bulls bite most in Lucas County," WNWO NBC24, December 22, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Bakersfield, California
In September 2009, it was reported that more than 2,400 dog bites had been recorded by animal control services in Bakersfield and areas of unincorporated Kern County since January 2007. "By a wide margin," the breed that bites most often is the pit bull, according to records compiled by the county. The city does not track bites by breed, which is an indicator that the city's animal service opposes BSL. The article also notes the questionable "mixed-breed" category: "Since 2007, pit bulls have bitten 389 victims in Kern. Mixed-breed dogs hold a dubious second place with 254 bites, and German shepherds are third with 140 bites."

Steven Mayer, "Neighborhood safety going to the dogs,", September 19, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-06. (Archived by WebCite® at

Royal Oaks, Michigan
Also in September, another Detroit suburb discussed pit bull legislation (view related map). According to a report provided by City Manager Don Johnson on the 5,311 licensed dogs in Royal Oak, "Pit bulls account for only 1.7% of licensed dogs in Royal Oak but were responsible for about 35% of reported dog bite incidents this year." It is important to point out that Detroit is known as the "dogfighting capital" of the U.S., thus an area rich with the breeding and ownership of pit bulls with explosive aggression. The Detroit area is also the center of U.S. medical research regarding pit bull injury to humans1. This is not a coincidence.

"Local news: Dangerous dogs on agenda in Royal Oak,", September 21, 2009 ( (Archive unavailable)
1Pitbull Mauling Deaths in Detroit (case report) and A Ten-Year, Two-Institution Review of Pediatric Dog Attacks (study)

Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
In August 2009, it was reported that pit bull bites were up 20% in Mecklenburg County. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control, in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, pit bulls represented 208 bites. Labs were second with 152, followed by German shepherds and Chows. The news article followed the July pit bull attack involving 9-year old Jisseth Moquete. The girl's neighbor, Jonathan Hall, had been "showing" the pit bull to her family in hopes they would buy the dog. As Moquete was petting the pit bull, the dog latched onto her face. A stranger had given the dog to Hall "for free" one day earlier.

Lisa Miller, "Pit Bull bites up 20% in Mecklenburg County," WFAE 90.7 FM, August 13, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Springdale, Arkansas
Also in August, the mayor of Springdale, Doug Sprouse, said that over half of the bites reported over the last 2 years have been by pit bulls. That can be a little misleading, he said, "but that's still a hefty number." City officials agreed that they wanted to "prevent bites before they happen," particularly by pit bulls, yet were hesitant about targeting a specific breed in the ordinance. The nearby city of Siloam Springs declares pit bulls "vicious" (Sec: 10-101) and requires owners to adhere to restraint requirements, attain liability insurance and to muzzle their dog when off property. The law specifically targets pit bulls to prevent future pit bull bites.

"City To Crack Down On Dangerous Dogs," KHBS NW Arkansas, August 12, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Hamilton, Ohio (Butler County)
In July 2009, after a pit bull named "Monster" escaped its pen and attacked its owner's young daughter, the Hamilton Health Department released dog bite statistics. From 2001 to July 2009, pit bulls lead with 157 biting incidents, representing 19% of all dog bites. Despite the fact that Ohio declares pit bulls "vicious" and requires special restraint measures (955.22) and liability coverage, pit bulls were still the top biters. The closest follower was "mixed," with 133 incidents (16%). Yet this category is questionable given that U.S. dogs are rarely sold or adopted under the generalized name "mixed." Labs followed with 65 incidents (8%).

Richard Wilson, "Pit bull owner stands by the breed," The Oxford Press, July 19, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Hillsborough County, Florida
Also in July, the Tampa Tribune requested data on dog bites from the Hillsborough Department of Animal Services regarding the 2,400 cases recorded in the last 18 months. The data shows that 103 different dog breeds were responsible for the bites. Pit bulls topped the chart with 371 incidents, 15% of all bites during the period. Labs followed with less than half of this amount with 151 incidents (6%). German shepherds ranked 3rd with 105 incidents (4%) and Chows ranked 4th with 80 (3%). As depicted on the chart, the Tribune seemed to think it was no big deal that one dog breed accounted for such a large percentage of bites.

Dennis Joyce, "Dog bite data doesn’t add up for lovers of Labradors," Tampa Tribune, July 29, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Ventura County, California
Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation released it annual data (July 2008 to June 2009) this month too. The report showed that pit bulls ranked 9th in licensing, down from 8th in the previous year, but were still the top biter producing 121 biting incidents, up from 117 in the previous year. Often cited by pro-pit bull groups as the leading biter, Cocker spaniels ranked 7th in licensing, but 9th in bite numbers producing only 19 incidents. Pit bulls also topped impounds with 1,399, up from 1,260 in the previous year. By comparison, Labs who rank 1st in licensing and are the most popular dog breed, had 580 impounds and 74 biting incidents.

Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation FY 2008-2009 Statistical Report ( (Archived by

Woonsocket, Rhode Island
In June 2009, Capt. Kenneth Paulhus of the Woonsocket Police Department issued a 3-year report concerning the alarming pit bull trend. "In 2006, pit bulls accounted for 32 percent of all the dog bite cases in Woonsocket," Paulhus says in the report. "The number increased to 37 percent in 2007. The year 2008 reflected half of all dog bites in the city were attributed to pit bulls." He added that "many were serious." Animal Control Officer Doris Kay1 says in the report that she used to think all dogs were created equal. But she says she's learned that, "In Woonsocket pit bulls bite more often, and cause more injury, than any other breed."

Russ Olivo, "Police push pit bull law," The Call, June 14, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at
1Nine months later, Officer Kay is attacked and seriously injured by a pit bull while in the line of duty.

Lincoln, Nebraska
Also in June, after a pit bull attacked 10-year old Baylee Harris, Lincoln Animal Control officials said that pit bulls are the leading breed in reported attacks. Since September of 2008, there have been 38 pit bull bites in the city followed by Labs with 27. The Lincoln County Animal Control 2008 Annual Report (truncated) shows that in 2008, a licensed population of 858 pit bulls and their mixes produced 60 biting incidents. The city's population of Labs and Lab-mixes, 5448 dogs, produced 39 bites in the same period. The data shows that 1 out of every 14 pit bulls in Lincoln is a biter, while its takes over 142 Labs to produce a bite.

Jason Volentine, "Updated Lincoln Boy Recovering After Pit Bull Attack," KOLNKGIN, June 3, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Richmond County, Georgia
In the same month, it was reported that Richmond County had 139 complaints of animal bites so far this year, 26 of them involving pit bulls. This is about 19-percent and the most of all dog breeds, according to the article. Diane Downs, the Director of Richmond County Animal Control, said that pit bulls "tend to get the most exposure because unfortunately they do the most damage." The news article came in response to a pit bull attack that left an Augusta man hospitalized. As we see in so many of these cases, the pit bulls escaped owner property (through a gap in the fence) "just to attack" a man who had been walking down the street.

Samantha Andre, "Pit bull attack sends man to hospital,", June 23, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Syracuse, New York
In May 2009, it was reported that the Syracuse dog control department had responded to 19 pit bull bites since the start of the year. According to the article, this is nearly double the amount during all of last year. "It's the beginning of dog control officer Jason Driscoll's shift," the article states, "and already he's responding to a pit bull call." In this instance, the two pit bulls (with a history of bad behavior) had also escaped owner property. Last year one of the same dog's bit a young girl. Dog control officers told WSYR TV that they run into trouble with other dog breeds as well, but pit bulls make up the "majority of reported attacks."

"Pit bull attacks in Syracuse on the rise," NewsChannel 9 WSYR, May 29, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Dyersburg, Tennessee
In April 2009, after a 16-year old girl was attacked by loose pit bulls while walking down a street, the Dyersburg Police Department reported there were 21 "dog bite" reports written in 2008. The figures show that nearly half of those bites (10) were from pit bulls. In the first four months of 2009, three of the five police reports written on dog bites involved pit bulls. The article also includes information from the Dyersburg City Attorney's office. City records show there were 35 court cases involving dogs within the last year. Of the 35 cases, 29 of them involved pit bulls. There were also six dog bite cases and all of those were from pit bulls.

"Pit bull attack causes injury and outrage," State Gazette, April 4, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Ogden, Utah
In March 2009, the City of Ogden considered a new ordinance that would toughen requirements for pit bull owners including carrying liability insurance. Bob Geier, director of the Ogden Animal Shelter, was in support of this new ordinance. Based on the APPA national survey statistics, Geier estimated that there are about 16,000 dogs in Ogden, including 3,200 pit bulls. During the last two years, pit bulls have accounted for about 20 percent of the dog population at the city animal shelter. During that same period, according to Geier, pit bulls and their mixes have been responsible for about 40 percent of reported dog bites in the city.

Scott Schwebke, "Tougher rules for pit bulls," Standard-Examiner, March 29, 2009 ( (Archive unavailable)

Lake County, Florida
Also reported in March, Marjorie Boyd, the director of Lake County Animal Services, said, "Pit bulls lead all breeds of dogs and cats in bite incidents the county has investigated in the past two years." According to Boyd, pit bulls represented 12.7 percent of bite cases in 2007, 12.5 percent in 2008 and 18 percent of cases thus far this year. The article came in response to the mauling of 22-year old Tracy Lindsey. At the time, Lindsey had been jogging down Getford Road when two pit bulls escaped their property and attacked her. Lindsay was airlifted by a Life Flight helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center and rushed into surgery.

Benjamin Roode, "Pit bulls maul jogger," The Daily Commercial, March 31, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Broward County, Florida
South of Lake County, the Broward County Dog Bite Database depicts a vivid picture of the "top biter." During the years of 2005 to 2008, Labs produced 151 biting incidents with 98 inflicted on humans and 53 on animals, while Cocker spaniels produced 16 biting incidents with 15 on humans and 1 to an animal. In the same period, the pit bull/American Staffordshire terrier community produced a whopping 618 biting incidents with 323 inflicted on humans and 296 on the county's pet and livestock population. The data shows that human-aggression is just as prevalent as animal-aggression in pit bulls produced by local breeders.

"Search Broward County animal bite reports" South Florida Sun Sentinel, 2009 ( (Archived by

Pinellas County, Florida
According to a 2009 Florida Senate Interim Report by the Committee on Community Affairs, Pinellas County had a total of 122,225 licensed dogs in 2007 and a total of 1,233 dog bites. For a county in which less than 3% of the dog population (3,666) is made up of pit bulls, they accounted for over 19% of the bites (235). The registered population of pit bulls produced 1 bite incident per every 15.6 pit bulls. The next highest number of bites was attributed to Labs, which represent 9% of the dog population (11,000) and accounted for 11.5% of the bites (142). The registered population of Labs only produced 1 bite incident per every 77.5 Labs.

"Review of the Viability of City or County Pre-emption of Banning Certain Dog Breeds By Ordinance," Committee on Community Affairs, Florida Senate Interim Report 2009-102. (Archived by

Altoona, Pennsylvania
Altoona city records showed in March that of the 5,056 dogs licensed in 2008, 162 (3%) of them were pit bulls or their mixes. City dog law officer, John Iorio, handled 178 biting incidents in 2008. Of these incidents, 110 (61%) involved pit bulls. Iorio believes the actual number of pit bulls in the city to be 400 (8%), but this hardly reduces the alarming number of bites attributed to them. In July 2009, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDF) records showed that 112 dogs in a 5-county region were declared legally "dangerous." Pit bulls accounted for 42 (38%) of these dogs. No Cocker spaniels or Labs appeared on the list.

William Kibler, "Dog attack highlights city's problem with pit bulls," The Altoona Mirror, March 8, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Indianapolis, Indiana
In February 2009, The Indianapolis Star reported that pit bull bites were at a record high -- 282 in 2008, an increase of 33 percent from the previous year and about three times the total from 2006. The Marion County Dog Bite Database shows that pit bulls produced 490 biting incidents while Labs produced 152 and Cocker spaniels only produced 27. The Star also reported that out of 3,000 pit bulls in animal care last year, nearly 2,500 were euthanized. Despite these statistics, the active pit bull community and the Indianapolis Humane Society, managed to "table" a new dog ordinance designed to reduce pit bull bites and deaths.

Heather Gillers, "Can pit bulls be saved?" The Indianapolis Star, February 1, 2009 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Wichita, Kansas
In January 2009, the Wichita Department of Environmental Services released a number of pit bull statistics. The figures are based upon the Wichita Animal Control department's investigation of 733 dog bites in 2008. Included in the data are pit bulls encountered by the Wichita Police Department. In the 1-year period, 95% of police encounters with aggressive dogs were pit bulls. The report also showed that the percentage of pit bull encounters had increased from 66% in 2004 to 95% in 2008. Subsequently, four months after the release of this data, the City of Wichita enacted a mandatory pit bull sterilization law.
  • 55% of all dogs deemed dangerous were pit bulls (41 pit bull dogs deemed dangerous).
  • 34% of attacks and bites involved pit bull dogs (246 pit bull attacks/bites).
  • 28% of dogs found running at large were pit bulls (1,279 pit bulls found running loose).
  • 25% of dogs impounded were pit bulls dogs (1,575 pit bulls impounded).
  • 37% of all dogs euthanized were pit bull dogs (1,255 pit bulls euthanized).
  • 23% of dog complaints involved pit bull dogs (2,523 complaints involved pit bull dogs).
"Wichita Pit Bull Dogs in 2008," Wichita Department of Environmental Services, January 2009 ( (Archived by

Canton, Ohio
In September 2008, when the City of Canton was in the process of adding American bulldogs to their existing pit bull ordinance (pit bulls are deemed "vicious" under Ohio state law), the Canton Repository published dog bite statistics from the Canton Health Department. From January 1, 2005 to September 2008, pit bulls led biting incidents with 89 bites. German shepherds (including police dogs) followed with 68, mutts with 50 and rottweilers with 33. It must be noted that under a 1991 Supreme Court of Ohio ruling, the court validated that "dogs commonly known as a pit bull dog" includes close breeds such as American bulldogs.

Ed Balint, "Canton may designate American bulldogs as vicious animals," The Canton Repository, September 14, 2008 ( (Archived by

North Texas Cities
In August 2008, The Dallas Morning News reported that one third (33%) of all dog bite incidents from July 2007 to July 2008 in Duncanville, Cedar Hill and Mesquite involved pit bulls. Each of these cities passed resolutions urging the state Legislature to allow breed-specific laws, as lawmakers were hoodwinked by the dog lobby in 1991 and passed a preemptive state-wide anti-BSL measure (822.047). The next closest breeds were German shepherds (9.6%) followed by Labs (9%). While breed population data was not available in this article, it's presumable that the pit bull population is lower than the other two breeds.

Jon Nielsen, "North Texas cities seek breed-specific regulations as statistics show pit bulls lead in bite incidents," Dallas Morning News, August 22, 2008 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Ventura County, California
In July 2008, Ventura County Department of Animal Regulation released a 1-year statistical report (July 2007 to June 2008). The report showed that pit bulls ranked 8th in licensing, but were still the top biter producing 117 biting incidents in this period. Often cited by pro-pit bull groups as the leading biter, Cocker spaniels ranked 6th in licensing, but 8th in bite numbers with only 28 incidents. In September 2008, 5-year old Katya Todesco of Simi Valley suffered catastrophic face and neck injury after she reportedly "bumped into" a pit bull. She died 6 days later. The pit bull mauling death of Katya was recorded as "one biting incident."

El Paso County, Colorado
In May 2008, after a pit bull burrowed under a fence and attacked a 5-year old boy, Ann Davenport of the Pikes Peak Region Humane Society said, "Pit bulls and pit bull mixes have accounted for more dog bites than any other breed in El Paso County this year. They were involved in 216 bites, about 18% of the 1,381 attacks reported. Labrador retrievers were second on the list, with 157 attacks, and German shepherds were third, with 93 bites." The attack occurred in Cimarron Hills, just east of Colorado Springs. The child received 2,000 stitches and underwent two immediate surgeries with many future facial surgeries expected.

Lance Benzel, "Pit bull mauls a 5-year-old boy," Colorado Springs Gazette, May 30, 2008 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Lubbock, Texas
In February 2008, the City and County of Lubbock experienced a "pit bull epidemic," which by March ended in the deaths of 23 animals due to loose pit bulls. The February article provided 2007 Lubbock Animal Services data regarding dog incidents. Of the 247 dog bites, pit bulls accounted for 75 incidents (30%). Labs followed with just 17 incidents (7%) and German shepherds with 15 (6%). Unfortunately, the writers of the article were hoodwinked into the myth that pit bulls are one of the "most popular" dog breeds in the nation. 2009 U.S shelter data shows that the total U.S. pit bull population is no greater than 5% of all dogs.

Joshua Hull and Robin Pyle, "Dog attack concerns growing in Lubbock," Lubbock Online, February 24, 2008 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

San Francisco, California
In July 2005, about 6 months prior to San Francisco enacting a pit bull sterilization law, the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed hundreds of dog bites logged by the city. According to Animal Care and Control department records, pit bulls and their mixes accounted for 27% of reported dog bites since 2003, even though they accounted for only 6% of licensed dogs. Of the 900 bite incidents recorded in this period, 626 traced to a specific dog. Of those, 169 bites were attributed to pit bulls. As the Chronicle writer points out, "that's more than the number of bites by German shepherds (69), Labradors (58) and rottweilers (34) combined."

Todd Wallack, "Dog bite reports show pit bulls likeliest culprits," San Francisco Chronicle, July 11, 2005 ( URL: Accessed: 2010-09-01. (Archived by WebCite® at

Related articles:
08/31/15: Who Can Identify a Pit Bull? A Dog Owner of 'Ordinary Intelligence'...
02/11/15: 2014 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics -
01/07/15: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs -
06/01/14: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work
01/20/14: 2013 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities - Dog Bite Statistics -
01/03/14: 2013 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs -
04/22/09: Report: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006 to December 2008

Photos: German shephered: Brigitte Mardorf and Labrador Retriever: Elf, both: CC BY-SA 3.0

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