4 Fatal Attacks in 2008
Gainsville, FL - The International Shark Attack File recently released its summary of 2008 shark incidents. University of Florida shark researcher George Burgess says there were 59 attacks in 2008, compared to 71 in 2007. There were four fatal shark attacks worldwide in 2008, an average number, compared with only one in 2007, which marked a two-decade low. Two of the deaths were in Mexico, one was in Australia and one was in the U.S.
In the U.S. alone, pit bulls killed 15 citizens in 2008. In the past 3 years, 52. This issue does not have an academic institution researching it, nor are these attacks compiled on a state level to our knowledge.
"Shark attacks" have been used to describe pit bull attacks since the 1980's. In EM Swift's famous Sports Illustrated cover story (The Pit Bull: Friend and Killer, 1987), he writes, "Unfortunately the pit bull, when it attacks, doesn't merely bite man -- or, most horribly, child -- it clamps its powerful jaws down and literally tears its victim apart." He then quotes several sources that depict the grave injury a pit bull bite inflicts compared to other dogs:
- "The injuries these dogs inflict are more serious than other breeds because they go for the deep musculature and don't release; they hold and shake,'' says Sheryl Blair of the Tufts Veterinary School, in North Grafton, Mass., which last year held a symposium entitled Animal Agression: Dog Bites and the Pit Bull Terrier.
- "Most breeds do not multiple-bite,'' says Kurt Lapham, a field investigator for the West Coast Regional office of the Humane Society. ''A pit bull attack is like a shark attack: He keeps coming back.'' ''A pit bull,'' says Judge Victor E. Bianchini of San Diego,'' is the closest thing to a wild animal there is in a domesticated dog."
On the heels of this article, two doctors at the University of Texas Medicine in Galveston published the first medical report dedicated to pit bull injury (Pit Bull Case Report and Literature Review, 1988). The report details the injuries suffered by an 83-year old man after being attacked by two pit bulls for about 15 minutes. Due to the multiple bites suffered and massive soft tissue loss, authors Vegas and Calhoun also cite the "shark attack" reference.
02/06/09: Ecuador Joins International Trend: Bans Pit Bulls and Rottweilers as Pets