A DogsBite.org reader brings up an excellent point: Pit bulls have an alarming record of breaking constraint to attack. In the 1987 Lockwood & Rindy survey (Are 'Pit Bulls' Different? An Analysis of the Pit Bull Terrier Controversy) the authors note that 42% of pit bull attacks involved dogs that were fenced, chained or inside prior to the incident. Another 14% involved dogs jumping fences or breaking chains. For bites involving other breeds, 26.7% were similarly restrained, but only 1% involved breaking restraint.
Comment: "One of the problems I see when discussing dog attacks is that the pro-pit lobby tries to shift focus onto the situation rather than the breed of dog. Whenever an attack involves a family member, the pit bull activists try to muddy the waters by insisting that the owners are not telling the truth about an unprovoked attack, the dog must have given warning signs, the dog was being provoked, the parents should not have left the child alone with the dog, etc.
But what no one seems to want to discuss is the other category of attacks -- pit bulls that are off leash, off property, that violently attack a person without provocation. If we create a category of dog attacks that is limited to dogs off leash, off property, including dogs that break containment, (fences, chains, leashes) to attack a non-family member or neighbor, we find that it is overwhelmingly pit bulls who fit this category. If we add leashed pit bulls who have lunged and bitten people without provocation, the numbers are even higher. This is where a credible argument arises that pit bulls have become a public health menace. While pit bull attacks against their owners are often horrific, the public is seldom moved to act because the risk and consequence was borne by the dog owner. When a pit bull jumps a fence/breaks a chain/crashes through a screen window to attack a person walking down the street, voters realize that these dogs pose too great a risk to remain unregulated. Claiming that all we need to do is enforce leash laws offers little comfort to parents who are afraid to let their children play outside because of the chance that a neighbors pit bull could make it over the fence and kill them.
I think victims advocates must pay special attention to this category of attack, and break out statistics to support our view that the regulation of pit bull dogs is a public health issue that can no longer be ignored."
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