Fatal Dog Attack Statistics
DogsBite.org recorded 23 fatal dog attacks in 2008. Citations of each victim's story are located on the Fatality Citations page. The last year the CDC recorded human deaths by dog breeds was 1998. Likely due to pressures from animal advocacy groups, the CDC stopped further research into this area. Since 1998, pit bulls alone have killed 126 U.S. citizens. The only other known entity, in addition to DogsBite.org, that tracks this vital data publicly is Animal People.1
2008 Dog Bite Fatalities
- 23 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2008. Pit bull type dogs were responsible for 65% (15). Pit bulls make up approximately 5% of the U.S. dog population.
- In 2008, only one U.S. citizen over the age of 3 was killed by a breed other than a pit bull. 74-year old Lorraine May was fatally mauled by her two dogs: an Australian shepherd-mix and a golden retriever-mix.
- 70% of the attacks occurred to children (11 years and under) and 30% occurred to adults (21 years and older). Of the children, half (8) occurred to ages 1 and younger.
- 39% of fatal attacks in 2008 involved multiple dogs; 9% involved chained dogs.
- 78% of the attacks occurred on owner property and 22% off owner property. All off property attacks (5) that resulted in death were attributed to pit bulls.
- 61% of the victims were male; 39% of the victims were female. Of the male victims, over half (8) were 3 years and younger.
- In at least three fatal attacks, a grandmother was watching a child aged 2 and younger. Two of these attacks occurred in Las Vegas; both involved pet pit bulls.
In the second quarter of 2009, DogsBite.org will be releasing a formal report on the fatalities we have tracked in the 3-year period of 2006-2008.
04/22/09: Report: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities January 2006 to December 2008
12/11/08: Who Authored the CDC Fatal Dog Attack Report (1979 to 1998)?