Fatal Dog Attack Statistics
DogsBite.org recorded 38 fatal dog attacks in 2012.1 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 208 U.S. citizens. The only other known entity, in addition to DogsBite.org, that tracks this vital data publicly is Animal People.
- 38 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2012. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 600 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 61% (23) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population.2
- Together, pit bulls (23) and rottweilers (3), the second most lethal dog breed, accounted for 68% of all fatal attacks in 2012. In the 8-year period from 2005 to 2012, this combination accounted for 73% (183) of the total recorded deaths (251).
- The breakdown between pit bulls and rottweilers is substantial over this 8-year period. From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls
killed 151 Americans, about one citizen every 19 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 32, about one citizen every 91 days.
- See full report: 2012 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - DogsBite.org
- News release: Nonprofit Releases 2012 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics
2012 is the first year
that DogsBite.org is adding a discussion section to our annual dog bite
fatality statistics. Annual data from 2012 shows a continuation of
existing trends and new trends as well, some of which we will track in
the future. To start, in the 8-year combined results, we see a whole
number drop again in the average number of days, 19, that a pit bull
kills an American, down from every 20 days in 2005 to 2011 results and 21 days in 2005 to 2010 results.
By reviewing the Fatal Pit Bull Attacks
website, one sees that in the 8-year period from 1997 to 2004, pit
bulls killed an American every 48 days. If one reaches back further into
the 1980s, when the pit bull problem erupted on a national scale and
cities began adopting pit bull laws, the spacing is even further. In the
8-year period from 1981 to 1988, a pit bull killed a person about every
65 days. This is generous, as the CDC study reflecting the same years shows every 70 days.
is no dispute that pit bulls are killing at an accelerated pace. What
is unknown is the "magic number" that must be reached -- a pit bull
killing a person every 15, 10 or 5 days? -- before more lawmakers respond with measures to reduce these injuries and deaths. It is also
unknown when more parents will reject the propaganda about this dog breed, spread by pit bull owners and animal welfare groups, and become aware of the injuries and deaths attributed to them.
That roughly one-third of all fatal dog attacks in 2012 occurred when the victim was either visiting or living temporarily
with the dog's owner, and that 75% of the victims in these
circumstances were children should send a powerful message to parents.
There is an extremely heightened risk factor when a child is placed into
these two scenarios, especially when the dog is a pit bull or
rottweiler. In 2012, these two dog breeds accounted for 78% of the child
deaths in these scenarios.
The death of a child by a
so-called "service dog" also occurred under these circumstances. Last
January, a 6-year old boy and his family were visiting the home of a military serviceman
in Oak Grove, Kentucky whose dog was allegedly trained to help him cope
with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The dog horribly attacked the boy,
killing him. There will be more "service dog" deaths, as the revised
ADA fails to require certified training or licensing for a service dog.
In 2012, two "missing children" cases required multiple law enforcement agencies to carry out search and rescue missions. Kylar Johnson, 4-years old of Victoria, Texas was discovered dead 14 hours later, killed by a chained pit bull. Bryton Cason,
4-years old of Donalsonville, Georgia was discovered in his own front
yard three hours later, killed by a loose dog. In the future, we might
expect similar "missing children" search missions to be linked to a
In 2012, two dog bite-related fatalities
involved United States Postal Service employees. Dog bites and dog
aggression have historically posed a problem for letter carriers, but
the October attack on 55-year old Robert Rochester Jr.,
of New Castle, Delaware, further intensifies it. The dog in this
instance escaped its owner's fenced property and viciously attacked
Rochester who was collecting mail from a bin on a street, not making
deliveries. Rochester died six days later.
In 2012, due to legal maneuverings by animal rights groups, two dogs that killed humans were spared euthanasia. On April 27, a Pennsylvania judge agreed to send a husky that killed a newborn to an out-of-state "sanctuary." The next case emerged on the same day, after a baby boy in Henderson, Nevada was killed by his grandmother's mastiff. The mastiff remains in quarantine awaiting a decision by the Nevada Supreme Court after intervention by the Lexus Project.
circumstances and legal issues of the two cases differ, but the results
are the same: the dog is sent to an out-of-state "sanctuary" to live
out the rest of its life. Yet, after a dangerous dog is shipped across
state lines, what oversight follows? In January, the Lexus Project gained ownership of a pit bull-type dog that was involved in a man's death. The group sent the dog, named Bones, to a residential home in Ohio that had 15 other dogs. Bones is currently missing.
data from 2012 is painfully clear. Innocent people continue to be the
suffers of the local and national battles waged by pit bull owners and animal advocacy groups, who have distorted the truth about pit bulls since the 1980s.
Moreover, the government public health agency, the CDC, has abandoned
the issue of dangerous dog breeds since their last published study in
2000, a study that had a 3-2 majority of animal authors, instead of medical doctors for human beings.
At that time, the CDC was led to believe by the animal authors that pit bulls had been replaced by a new killer breed,
rottweilers, thus legislating specific dog breeds would be fruitless.
Did the CDC doctors ever imagine back then that about a decade later an
American would die every 19 days as the result of pit bull mauling? This
is unknown, but the animal authors did know; each understood the unique
attack behaviors of dogs selectively bred to fight to the death in a pit.3
If the public has to wait for the "magic number" to reach every 10 days,
or worse every 5, to gain the attention of public health officials, the
volume of serious and fatal maulings inflicted by well-documented
dangerous dog breeds will be unspeakable.
Data Collection Method: How We Collect U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Data
least two additional victims died due to dog bite-related injuries in
2012. These deaths involved non-dog bite injury, minor dog bite injury
or lacked a "reasonably clear" determination of death due to dog bite
injury and are not included in the DogsBite.org statistical fatality
data: Tim Thomas, 49-years old (Douglas County, GA) and Cary Phalen, 50-years old (Omaha, NE).
2More adoptions will not end shelter killing of pit bulls, by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, October 2011.
3While working at the Humane Society of the United States, Randall Lockwood participated in three dog bite fatality studies. Ironically, Lockwood's research of fighting dogs (the PDF file) was used to uphold the Denver pit bull ban.
07/24/14: Nonprofits Urge CDC to Resume Tracking Richer Data Set for Children and Adults...