Dog Bite Victims' Advocacy Group Turns 7-Years Old
Austin, TX - October 15, 2014 marks the seventh year that DogsBite.org has been operating on the World Wide Web educating the public, dog bite victims, attorneys, doctors, law enforcement, journalists and policymakers about the growing epidemic of serious and fatal dog maulings in this country. The vast majority of these severe attacks are inflicted by a handful of well-documented dangerous dog breeds. Our website is now over 2,200 pages and hosts over 500 PDF files.
The cornerstone of DogsBite.org is conducting high quality research and analysis about U.S. fatal dog maulings that identify underreported high-risk injury scenarios, primarily involving children. We uncover trends that are unknown to the CDC and other researchers. For instance, in 2013, 38% of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred, up from 32% in 2012. Young children accounted for 83% of these deaths.
Our dedication, research and analysis saves lives by providing parents critical safety information that is often not widely distributed.
At the end of 2014, DogsBite.org will have collected 10-years of U.S. dog bite fatality information. It is our mission to collect and closely analyze this data, including subsequent criminal trials and legislation that comes in response to a devastating fatal dog mauling, because the fundamental U.S. government agency that should be closely tracking this information, the CDC, stopped in 1998. It is our mission to prevent these horrific attacks no matter the hurdles that lay in our path.
In 2011, we launched Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record, tracking the growing number of Americans killed by pit bulls. As of today, 255 people have been mauled to death by pit bulls since the CDC stopped tracking breed data in 1998, and since 1980, 336 killed. Earlier this month, we launched a separate list: Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - Child Fatalities. As of today, 133 children have been struck down by these dogs since 1998, and since 1980, 184 dead. This is unacceptable.
Good Strides, Still a Ways to Go
Despite our strides over the past 7-years, we still suffer a difficult fate: Many parents do not find us online until it is too late. Many parents are "so close" to understanding the danger these dogs pose to their children, but still agree to a "temporary" situation, allowing the dog to stay in their home for a short while, or allow their child to visit the home of a spouse or babysitter who owns a pit bull -- a risk factor today that accounts for nearly 4 times the number of deaths inflicted by chained dogs.
Why don't more of these parents just say no, especially when they already have misgivings? Because the readily available information (pumped out by Cesar Millan, AVMA and the Pit Bull Propaganda Machine) claims "It's all how you raise them." Add to this that the common understanding of a "dog bite" is a minor injury that might require a few stitches. Many people simply have no idea what a "mauling injury" entails, permanent disfigurement or loss of limbs.
As stated in our CDC Remedy document, 93% of all dog bites fall into the "garden variety" category requiring very little medical attention. The remaining 7% is the focus of DogsBite.org, severe injuries requiring emergency room treatment (5%) or hospitalization (2%) and in some cases death.1 When more parents understand severe "mauling injuries," they can make better choices, one of which is to simply say no if asked, "Can I bring my pit bull into your home?"
A Special Thanks to Our Donors
Our website, ongoing research and our ability to travel to locations to present vital testimony would not be possible without donations from across the country and around the world. We thank all of our donors so much for making our mission possible and for making our 7th birthday a reality. You have had great faith that we would persevere and we ARE! Together, with your continued support, we will keep fighting and we will see an end to senseless "mauling injuries" and fatal attacks.
Key Benchmarks in Past 7-Years
Lastly, every year brings new benchmarks of progress. The last 12-months in particular mark the growth of the victims' advocacy movement across the country. There are so many new websites, blogs and Facebook pages advocating on behalf of victims and breaking down the dangerous myths proliferated by pit bull owners that it is hard to keep track! With that, we leave readers with some of the key benchmarks of DogsBite.org and the advocacy movement over the last 7-years.
- 2014 (Oct) - The citizens of Aurora will vote on whether to keep their pit bull ban in a first general election ballot measure of this kind.
- 2014 (Sep) - Artist unveils first memorial for U.S. fatal dog mauling victims at ArtPrize 2014 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. | Official website
- 2014 (Jul) - Nonprofits urge CDC to resume tracking richer data set for children and adults disfigured, maimed and killed by dogs.
- 2014 (Jun) - The Problem With Pit Bulls by Charlotte Alter - Time Magazine. A national publication shares our side of the story from multiple voices.
- 2014 (May) - Missouri: Proposed statewide bill prohibiting breed-specific ordinances fails during the legislative session.
- 2014 (May) - Third national event: A Night Of Remembrance For Those Killed In Canine Attacks, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- 2014 (Mar) - New nonprofit, Daxton's Friends for Canine Education and Awareness, launches in Troy, Wisconsin.
- 2014 (Jan) - Pit bull fatalities rise to highest percentage, 78%, since DogsBite.org began tracking and collecting U.S. dog bite fatality data in 2007.2
- 2013 (Oct) - Second national event: Kaylie's Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Dangerous Dogs, held in Sacramento, California | Official website
- 2013 (Jul) - DogsBite.org releases, Beyond the Interview - Essay of a Fatal Pit Bull Mauling, detailing the aftermath of a fatal pit bull mauling | Read essay
- 2012 (Dec) - The Solesky family releases 911 call at the center of high court decision, Tracey v. Solesky. Video created, edited by DogsBite.org | Watch video
- 2012 (Oct) - First national event: Walk for Victims of Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs, held in Tucson, Arizona. | Official website
- 2012 (Aug) - Vote in Miami-Dade County to repeal pit bull ban fails by a wide margin, 63% of voters favor keeping the pit bull ban.
- 2012 (Jun) - Injury Prevention publishes study showing reduction of dog bite hospitalizations after cities adopted pit bull bans in province of Manitoba, Canada.
- 2012 (Apr) - Maryland Court of Appeals declares pit bulls "inherently dangerous," attaches strict liability when a pit bull attacks a person.
- 2012 (Jan) - Editor of Animal People, Merritt Clifton, releases 30-Year Summary of Pit Bull Trends, showing surge of attacks post Michael Vick conviction.
- 2011 (Oct) - DogsBite.org launches key document: Estimated U.S. Cities, Counties, States and Military Facilities with Breed-Specific Laws.
- 2011 (Oct) - DogsBite.org submits amicus brief to Maryland Court of Appeals in landmark case, Tracey v. Solesky. | Read brief
- 2011 (Apr) - Annals of Surgery publishes, Mortality, Mauling and Maiming by Vicious Dogs by John K. Bini, MD, Stephen M. Cohn, MD et al.
- 2011 (Apr) - DogsBite.org receives 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS on April 18, 2011. Donations become tax-deductible.
- 2011 (Jan) - DogsBite.org launches Fatal Pit Bull Attacks - The Archival Record, a growing archive of fatal pit bull attacks dating back to the 1800s.
- 2010 (Jul) - Off Lead & Animal Behavior publishes, Pit Bulls by Gary Wilkes, a 21st Century depiction of the American pit bull terrier | Read article
- 2010 (Jun) - DogsBite.org releases: Cities with Successful Pit Bull Laws; Data Shows Breed-Specific Laws Work (2008 to present) | View post
- 2009 (Aug) - U.S. Marine Corps bans pit bulls, rottweilers and wolf-hybrids from all privatized housing both domestically and abroad.
- 2009 (Jul) - DogsBite.org releases: Pit Bulls Lead 'Bite' Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties (2008 to present).
- 2009 (Jun) - DogsBite.org releases report: U.S. Police and Citizen Shootings of Pit Bulls (January 1 to December 31, 2008).
- 2009 (Apr) - DogsBite.org releases 3-Year fatality study: U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities (January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008).
- 2009 (Jan) - U.S. Army bans pit bulls, rottweilers and several other recognized dangerous dog breeds from all privatized housing.
- 2008 (Dec) - DogsBite.org launches first series of State Pit Bull Fatality Maps beginning with California and followed by Texas.
- 2008 (Oct) - DogsBite.org releases 5-minute video of attack victims and national statistics on Pit Bull Awareness Day 2008 | Watch video
- 2008 (Feb) - United States Supreme Court leaves intact Ohio Supreme Court's ruling that breed-specific legislation is constitutional when properly written.
- 2007 (Oct) - DogsBite.org launches from Seattle, Washington. The first snapshot of the website appears in Internet Archives in early November.
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2We have more years of fatality data than our age of 7 because we also collected data from 2005 and 2006.
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06/20/11: Founder Colleen Lynn Reflects Upon Four Year Anniversary of Her Attack
I am so glad DBO exists and does such a great job of documenting this info. So sorry how you got started though… I think your website and others like yours have helped me to become aware of this dangerous breed of dog and helped keep my family and myself safe.
Dear Dogsbite.org I am forever grateful for your dedicated, educated, and devoted efforts to collect rich data that will provide decision makers with the knowledge they need to make important safety decisions for others. I splurged toay and enjoyed a cupcake in your honor! Happy Birthday and I hope for decades more! Cat and Daisy Lynn, bassethoundtown.com
Colleen, thank you so much for the effort and time that you give, and for the voice of sanity that you provide. However, I feel that the battle is being lost. I don't know if it's just the area I live in, but there are more pit bulls as pets than the statistics show. I seriously fear that there will soon be no other dogs. I watched a parade the other day put on for the University of Florida's homecoming. The whole city of Gainesville gets involved. Banks and schools close, and the main roads are blocked off. I only watched about a quarter of it, and I counted 22 pit bulls taking part in the parade. Five were on a float for a local "animal" rescue, which was obviously a pit rescue. The rest were walking with people in the parade. Several had tutus. One was in a baby stroller. The only dog that was not a pit was the German Shepherd K9 with the law enforcement float. Fortunately, it was a good day, and no one was hurt(or, if they were, it didn't make the papers). I guess what I'm trying to say is that these dogs are everywhere. Each one of these owners has no idea that they are living with a ticking time bomb. And if the deaths and maulings don't change their minds, I don't know if the tide can be turned against so many. Those of us that know live in fear. There is no safe place to be outdoors, no neighborhood or park that is pit free. There are just so many.
Are you sure that was not in part participation for Pit Bull Awareness Day? Bully groups across the U.S. all October long have public events or participate in other public events to shine a light on the "breed-ambassadors."
If all of those pits and their owners were there for pit awareness day, it was rather insidiously done. There was no mention of pits by anyone. There were no signs and they weren't together as a group. It was just a pit on a float, or walking with a group, like kids who won a science award, the runners from that mornings run, floats from local businesses, etc. The only group was the animal rescue who were described as a dog rescue by the MC's, but only had pits on their float. I would be pleased to think that some of these had been trucked in to make a presence, but I think they are all residents. Pretty much anyone you talk to around here is pro-pit. Their families have raised them forever and they are all wigglebutts blah, blah, blah. Their total ignorance is pretty scary. Everyone drinks the kool-aide and thinks that all the stories of deaths and maulings are fabricated, exagerrated, or are about dogs that were raised to be violent. "My dog would never do that. He's a real sweetie pie."