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14 thoughts on “The City and County of Denver Dog Bite Statistics by Breed and Injury Severity Over a Three Year Period (2017-2019)

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  1. Thank you, Colleen, for doing the work to bring this statistical reality to the attention of all who live with this ever-present life-destructive threat.

    • Probably a lot. I worked in an animal hospital for a time and was appalled to see how many people used lab mix or the lab/boxer mix label on dogs who clearly looked like pits. And, many of the reception, techs, and docs facilitated those lies. Some even encouraged it. Every time a little dog came in with a dog attack, it was a pit who had done it.

    • My thoughts exactly. People are encouraged to lie about their dogs’ true breed to get into housing or in order to avoid a ban. I feel badly for how much Labs as a breed are maligned due to mislabeling. Just look at most shelters these days which call pit mixes or even full blooded pits “Lab mix” and we can see that the data is skewed. Something telling though… a young cousin of mine was bitten in the face by a neighbor’s dog a few years ago. At first, people said it was a pit bull which bit him, and on hearing this everyone was concerned that he would require extensive repair and surgery. Then an update from the hospital: he was bitten by a Lab. The neighbors had two dogs, a Lab and a pit, and indeed in this case it was the Lab which bit him. Every family member sighed in relief upon hearing that because they all knew that it was not as likely to be a disfiguring injury. Everyone was relieved, even those who say pits don’t bite more than any other breed. It’s because everyone inherintly knows that a child bitten in the face by a Lab may come away with scars and trauma, but a child bitten in the face by a pit bull may no longer have ears, eyes, lips, a nose, cheeks or a scalp. That’s one reason I’m glad that bite severity comes into these studies.

  2. I thought the mayors reason for vetoing the bill was compelling. The new pit bull ordinance would require licensing at minimum. Only 20% of ALL Denver dog owners bother to license their dogs, what hope is there that pit bull owners will exceed that? Insurance is a pipe dream. I hope they keep the ban.

  3. Kansas City can add an Australian Shepard who bit me at the dog park ,leaving permanent scaring and bruising. Funny there are no setters on there. I live here in KCMO and there are a ton of pitbulls, and there are an awful lot of pit puppies here in my apartment complex, as we have NO breed restrictions. I didn’t know there was a mandatory sterilization law.

  4. Aren’t American Bulldogs just big pit bulls?
    Disappointed they are not part of the ban. If it meant sparing the dog it would not be hard to find a vet tech willing to say your pit was actually an American Bulldog.

    Notice if you add Am Bull’s bites to pit bulls they become the number 1 biter in all categories? Am Bulls are number one in level 5 bites already. This again leads me to believe that Am Bulls are big pits.

    • 1989 was a long time ago — not many jurisdictions knew about American bulldogs back then. They were not accepted into the UKC until 1999. Despite being their so-called own breed, they are not separate or distinct from pit bulls (the makers discuss). They were built upon the backs of pit bulls and share the same gene pool. This same issue also exists in Miami-Dade County, though to a much larger and cynical degree. Of the 16 American bulldog fatalities since 2005, 7 were born in bred in Miami Dade County and an 8th came from northern Florida. Can you imagine if 44% of all rottweilers that killed a person did not only come from the same state, but came from the same county in that state? (Some of the Miami Dade killers) With the somewhat recent introduction of the American bullies, along with years of breeders selecting for and cross-breeding for a “larger pit bull” there is not much distinction today, not even in weight, between a pit bull and an American bulldog. We have always advised jurisdictions to include American bulldogs in their ordinances.

  5. Great work here on compiling and analyzing the statistics! Thank you.

    For the record, in light of the discussion of American bulldogs, here is the definition for “pit bull” used in San Francisco’s Pit Bull Ordinance:

    (a) Definition. For the purposes of this Article, the word “pit bull” includes any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics that conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club (“AKC”) or United Kennel Club (“UKC”) for any of the above breeds. The AKC and UKC standards for the above breeds are listed on their websites as well as online through the Animal Care and Control Department’s (“Department”) website.

    (b) Determination of Breed. If an owner, guardian or keeper is unsure as to whether or not his/her unspayed and unneutered dog is a pit bull, s/he may make an appointment with the Department at which a Department staff member shall make a determination as to whether or not the dog is a pit bull. If the dog owner, guardian or keeper wishes to appeal the determination that the dog is a pit bull, within five business days of the staff member’s determination s/he may request a hearing before the Department’s Director or his/her designee. The hearing shall be held no more than 30 days after the Director receives the request. The hearing may be informal and rules of evidence not strictly observed. The decision of the Director or his/her designee is final.

  6. Thank you for compiling all of this important data. This needs to be widely shared, especially to the Denver citizens. They don’t realize what could happen if they actually end up repealing this ban. They’re opening themselves up to more attacks in even greater severity.

    And as early post brought up, I don’t doubt that many dogs listed as labs are actually pit mixes (if not full blooded bully breeds). So the percentages of attacks could very much be higher than we think.

  7. Good God, what is wrong with Councilman Chris Herndon? Supposedly he has a business background but he does not understand simple statistics. His district includes Park Hill, Stapleton, and portions of East Colfax, and Montbello. Notably, Montebello is the district where the community delivered a petition to the mayor hoping he would not repeal the ban. Councilman Herndon represents this district that is poor and black and already has problems with hundreds of pit bulls there and laws not being followed.

  8. mayfair park. denver. 2014-2019.
    ONE OFF-LEASH VIOLATION ISSUED FOR
    5 YEAR PERIOD IN THIS PARK.
    PARK DEPT. DATA.
    TYPICAL THROUGHOUT CITY.

    LACK OF ENFORCEMENT IS MAJOR FACTOR IN CONTINUING VIOLATIONS.

    THE BITING CONTINUES!

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