Fatal Dog Attack Statistics
DogsBite.org recorded 31 fatal dog attacks in 2011.1 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 181 U.S. citizens. The only other known entity, in addition to DogsBite.org, that tracks this vital data publicly is Animal People.2
- 31 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2011. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 600 U.S. cities, pit bulls led these attacks accounting for 71% (22). Pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population.3
- Notably in 2011, adult victims of fatal pit bull attacks more than doubled the number of child victims. Of the 22 total pit bull victims, 68% (15) fell between the ages of 32 to 76, and 32% (7) were ages 5 years and younger.
- The year 2011 also marks an increase in pet pit bulls killing their owners. Of the 8 total instances this year in which a family dog inflicted fatal injury to its primary caretaker, the dog's owner, 88% (7) involved pet pit bulls.
- Together, pit bulls (22) and rottweilers (4), the number two lethal dog breed, accounted for 84% of all fatal attacks in 2011. In the 7-year period from 2005 to 2011, this same combination accounted for 74% (157) of the total recorded deaths (213).
- The breakdown between pit bulls and rottweilers is substantial over this 7-year period. From 2005 to 2011, pit bulls killed 128 Americans, about one citizen every 20 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 29; about one citizen every 88 days.
- Annual data from 2011 shows that 58% (18) of the attacks occurred to adults (21 years and older) and 42% (13) occurred to children (11 years and younger). Of the children, 62% (8) occurred to ages 1 and younger.
- 2011 data also shows that 39% (12) of the fatal incidents involved more than one dog; 26% (8) involved breeding on the dog owner's property either actively or in the recent past, and 3% (1) involved tethered dogs, down from 9% in 2010 and 19% in 2009.4
- Dog ownership information for 2011 shows that family dogs comprised 65% (20) of the attacks that resulted in death; 74% (23) of all incidents occurred on the dog owner's property and 29% (9) resulted in criminal charges, up from 15% in 2010.
- The states of California and Texas led fatalities in 2011, each with 4 deaths; pit bulls and their mixes contributed to 88% (7) of the 8 deaths. North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia each incurred 2 deaths.
- See: Full news release.
2Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People.
32011 data from Animal People (More Adoptions Will Not End Shelter Killing of Pit Bulls, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, October 2011) scales back the total population of pit bulls from 5% (Decade of Adoption Focus Fails to Reduce Shelter Killing, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, July/August 2009) to less than 5%, specifically to 3.3% of the total U.S. dog population.
4Updated to reflect 2013 information released about the death of Misti Wyno. The dog was not chained when it attacked.
07/24/14: Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and Adults...
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)?