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10 thoughts on “European Study of Dog Bite Fatalities Suggests Rise in Deaths Could be Due to Increasing Number of Dangerous Breeds

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  1. Increasing population of dangerous breeds can not lead to a reduction of fatal attacks, nor lead to a reduction of severe maulings. My common sense module tells me that the rise in death and severe mauling numbers could be due to increased proliferation of dangerous breed canines.

    The number of people with properly calibrated common sense modules is on a decline.

    ” “The numbers of fatalities are indeed a very small tip of the ‘dog attack iceberg’, and the number of dog attacks that lead to hospitalizations of the victim outnumber fatalities by several orders of magnitude.” The tip of the “dog attack iceberg” indicates a much larger problem.”

    The dog attack reality points to a much larger threat than most people want to acknowledge.

    I ask normal people to think of how many millions, or hundreds of thousands of lives tragically destroyed per year per country by dangerous breed canines.

  2. I found a few notes of correlation I found very interesting.

    1) There are *more* dog maulings since people have been using “modern” training methods. For eons, people have handled dogs less gently and more towards an eye to working them–not advocating abuse here–but “purely positive movement” increase clearly isn’t reducing the risk and may, in fact, be increasing the risk of viciousness.

    2) Less culling. When dogs were dangerous before they weren’t kept alive to breed more of their ilk. Dogs were killed immediately. Including puppies that showed any poor behavioural traits. Cruel, yes. However it resulted in better dogs.

    3) Less local breeding. Dogs are shunted hither and yon across borders for “fanciers” of breeds. This is very different from when dogs were bred locally and knowledge of dangerous dog lines were fairly common knowledge as well as knowing the local friendly mutts that bore more friendly mutts and other dogs were bred as working animals for whatever was needed in that particular area.

    At this point the pitbull/fighting dog menace is infecting the lines of dogs globally at an alarming rate. If it is not stopped, and soon–we will need methods to control the dog population that I don’t even want to think about because the danger from dogs will skyrocket.

    It’s time to defund pitbull advocacy groups. It’s one thing to have a “foxhound fancier” club. Nobody has to fight for the rights of other dog breeds because other dog breeds fanciers aren’t responsible for mass slaughter caused by their hobby. There are no beagle lobbyists because beagles aren’t murdering the neighbour’s cats or poodles.

    Stop the money train.

    Great work Colleen on researching this important information.

  3. Thanks for disseminating this study and providing an incisive overview of its findings. Hopefully it will have some impact in the wider arena of public discourse.

  4. Ah thank you, good paper Colleen.

    As per my observations, it’s not smart to allow playing dogs to get too rowdy because that leads to dangerous interactions.

    What I’ve also observed is that if there are a bunch of stable dogs who know each other and a dog displaying pushy behaviour comes in…the other dogs *will* band together and solve the problem. The dog park problem is that the pack is constantly de-stabilized and so, that kind of social learning doesn’t take place. Dog parks are a hotbed of practise aggression and anxiety/excitement incitement.

    No one who is serious about working their dog would take them to a dog park. It’s just too risky.

    Dogs often generalise aggression. If they are turning on other dogs/pets there’s a large possibility they’ll start turning on humans either through re-direction or because they’ve gone down the road of dominating other species using fear and violence.

    Also, note that the dogs that are most humanized in body language and eye contact are most often the victims of dog aggression.

    By viewing dogs as people, we’ve lost our respect for their dog-ness, their instincts and their potential danger. When they guard our sheep and cattle, haul loads in arctic conditions or sniff out/retrieve game that genetic code is beneficial.

    When they are designed to fight and kill–there’s no “off” switch.

    Yet breeding them continues.

    • Thank you, Boni, for raising more than a few important points. I think that your points that you share with us bear further development. I look forward to seeing your next guest piece.

      Quote Boni: “Does that clarify my view, Richard?”
      Yes, and thank you!

  5. I have GSDs. The German Shepherd Dog Club of America
    (AKC) writes the GSD breed standard with the support of its membership and submits that
    written standard to AKC. AKC accepts the standard, and that standard provides information for the judges to judge by.

    The same is also done by all AKC national breed clubs.

    I don’t know how UKC gets its breed standards.

    If a dog in an AKC show bites a judge, it is permanently disqualified from AKC competition. It is possible to get some dogs reinstated.

    There is a huge problem with dog behavior. Why? People can be very lax in teaching kids and dogs good behavior. In some cases, they don’t know how a dog should behave.

    One of my dogs today was showing some inappropriate behavior as in grabbing with teeth. He didn’t intend to hurt anyone, but I don’t like the behavior. So I told the man with his leash to quit messing with his muzzle. He didn’t need correction. He needed the teasing to stop.

    A male senior citizen was sitting in a chair holding the family’s nine month old female Shih Tzu
    which would try to attack his wife when she walked by. The man found the temperament amusing.

    The problem here is not lack of discipline. It is the owner ignoring the bad behavior and actually encouraging it.

    Many dogs in the USA are getting little exercise and little training. Those lead to bad behavior.

    Why do so many pit bull owners fail to control their dogs? Because the leash laws are not enforced. This could be stopped if there were real consequences for the owners.

    I don’t appreciate the pit bull owners allowing mauling and killing. Making laws and enforcing them could largely resolve this problem.

    Pit bull owners wouldn’t find their dogs’ behavior amusing if they got fines and jail time.

    And there must be some way to
    control some pit bull breeding.
    There are simply too many of them.

    Many pit bull owners don’t like their dogs. A man last year sicced his dogs on a man whom they killed. The man knew his dogs would be killed if they killed anyone. So he clearly didn’t want them.

    Without controls in place, pit bulls will maul and kill a lot more.

    Some years ago AKC put out a breed book with standards and listing, for example, if the dog was good with children. Breeders became angry if the book said their breed wasn’t good with children. AKC pulled the books and reprinted them without the information. AKC is powerful.

  6. In the United States we also need to ask where these mauling/killing dogs come from—not just who bred them, but who adopted them out? Not infrequently, these dogs are from shelters or rescue groups and there is no good follow up on all the dogs leaving shelters via rescue groups or shelter-to-shelter transfers. In the current, “Increase the Live-Release-Rate”, shelters are sending dangerous dogs into our communities in shocking numbers. There must be traceability and culpability.

    “Rehabilitation” of a dangerous dog is a myth perpetuated by television and the Save Them All shelter movement. It will always boil down to management of an aggressive dog, and management will ultimately fail, even for a professional dog trainer; when management fails with an aggressive Dalmatian, someone will be bitten. When management fails with an aggressive bull breed, someone will be mauled or killed.

    • Exactly.

      Household management can be done for dogs that are not “average” companion dogs. It’s labour intensive, it’s not particularly enjoyable and most pet owners lack both the skill, knowledge and dedication that an experienced dog trainer can apply. There’s no “rehabbing” a dangerous dog–there’s only a 15 year commitment to manage its behaviour. That’s an expensive proposition.

      Dog trainers don’t “love” difficult dogs–they are paid to handle them. Feelings don’t get in the way. While some may rescue the odd “difficult” dog (been there, bought the mug and t-shirt on a battered GSD on time) their personal dog/s are often a joy–biddable, friendly, hard-working.

      The problem I see with increasing frequency is that owners do not seem to understand the difference in the relationship one has with an enjoyable working or companion dog and one that is a chore, a burden and a duty rather than an animal with which one shares their life.

      Obtaining a disturbed dog is the perfect way to excuse training failures. Obtaining a disturbed pitbull is all too often a one-way trip to the morgue for somebody.

      I’m with you on this one Sue. Stop the money train for rescues/pitbull breeders and the supply will dry up, quickly. Pitbulls are resource-heavy. The cost of managing one pitbull for life could fix 100 beagles and make them home-ready.

      Pitbull cultists don’t love dogs because pitbulls are the biggest murderers of dogs, out there.

      They love the pitbull cult.

      And I have to ask, WHY is it okay to put staff of shelters at risk of death by manipulating their love of abandoned dogs?

  7. As someone from the UK, I can tell you the vast majority of dog bite fatalities here are from bull breeds. Most of these are Staffordshire Bull Terriers and so called American Bulldogs. Apperently we banned American pit bulls but you can still get around owning one.

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