New Study Ignites Debate Regarding Breed Specific Bans of Pit Bulls


June 25, 2011

University Hospital in San Antonio, TX just completed a study where they compiled 15 years worth of data on serious dog bite injuries that were treated by their doctors and nurses.

The conclusion they came to after reviewing the data was that attacks by pit bulls were more likely to kill people than attacks by other breeds of dogs. Three deaths occurred at the hospital due to dog attacks and all were from pit bulls. They also concluded that pit bulls cause more serious injuries to their victims when they attack and that the costs of the injuries are substantially higher.

The study that was conducted was started two years ago when dog attacks were rampant and the lawmakers in the city of Austin were trying to instigate local bans on specific breeds. The doctors and nurses who published the study had published these comments in the April issue of the medical journal of Annals of Surgery, "These breeds should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated." None of those bans were passed and local bans are not allowed now under state law in Texas.

Is it the Dogs or the Owners?

Owners and proponents of the pit bull breed disagreed with the conclusions of the study. Many argue that irresponsible owners are to blame for the more dangerous pit bulls. Pit bull advocates also have questioned such studies because the breed is often mixed up with other kinds of bull terrier breeds. Dr. John Bini, one of the authors of the study, argues that the breed was bred to fight and that they use attack patterns that other dogs do not employ. They often attack without warning, and then do not want to back off once they have begun to attack.

The statistics regarding pit bulls do not put the dogs in a favorable light. According to the study, pit bulls were responsible for 65% of all fatal dog attacks in our country in 2008. In the state of Texas in 2007, 7 people were killed by attacks involving pit bulls. Every 14 days, someone in our country is killed by a pit bull, and someone loses a body part to one every 5.4 days.

One expert in dog behavior, Dr. Bonnie Beaver, veterinary professional at Texas A&M suggests that the study is flawed. In his words, "...[T]he dog-related data is seriously flawed, and is used at will to try to prove a specific point of view." Dr. Beaver understands the seriousness of these dog attacks and dog bites, having led a national task force on the prevention of dog bites. He notes that he does not want to diminish the issue but does not believe in breed-specific bans.

Proponents of the breed argue that if pit bulls are shown proper love and training, then the breed can live peacefully among people, kids, and other pets. Some serve well in areas of law and military enforcement or as therapy animals. Often the people that choose this type of dog have issues of their own and expect the animal to fight and to act aggressive. Gang environments and drug environments may account for a lot of the dog’s aggressive behavior.

When You are Attacked By a Dog

If you are confronted by a dog you believe to be aggressive, some experts have indicated that the following are things you can do to try and prevent the dog from attacking.

  • Don't wave your arms or anything at the dog, this can instigate it to grab on
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog because it will see this as confrontational
  • Don't ever turn your back on the dog, turn sideways and lower your eyes
  • Don't ever run because the dog will catch you
  • Move slowly away, facing the dog and don't approach the dog
  • If the dog does bite onto you, don't try and pull away because it will tear your flesh
  • Shout for help and when someone comes have them pry the dog's jaws open with something

When a dog is being aggressive, it is easy to spot the signs. The dog may stiffen up, hold its tail high up and stiff, and snarl at you. If you encounter a dog like this, you should not ever approach it and slowly back away while facing the dog.

If you are attacked by a dog, you should be sure to seek medical attention right away. You should also try and get the owner's information so that the hospital can check to make sure that the dog has been vaccinated. Dog attacks are usually a result of an owner's negligence. The dog is loose, and the owner is aware that the dog is known to be aggressive. Despite this knowledge, the owner permits the dog to be around people even though the owner has trained the dog to attack.

We know that victims of dog bites and dog attacks can suffer serious injuries and major medical expenses, including cosmetic surgery for facial injuries. It is not uncommon for there to be permanent scarring. If you or someone you love has been injured by a dog owner's failure to control their dog, contact Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, to learn about your legal rights and about seeking compensation for your injuries. Call Montlick & Associates today to see how our experienced Georgia dog bite attorneys can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you. Montlick & Associates: Caring, Dedication, Experience, Results!

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.