FACT: In the NCRC preliminary report on 2011 (they're making sure their facts are all there before the final report is submitted, imagine that!) they are currently investigating 31 incidents in a dog population of over 78 million dogs (ALL BREEDS) that occurred during 2011 that may qualify as dog bite-related fatalities. That's roughly 1 death for every 2.5 million dogs, according to 2011 numbers. Is one death too much? Of course. But let's come back to that.
Let's look at the NCRC's finalized 2010 report:
FACT: Out of 33 dog-bite related fatalities that year (out of 78 MILLION DOGS), they have determined that only SEVEN (21%) were family pets. 64% (21 dogs) were deemed Resident Dogs*, while the rest were unknown.
From the NCRC Handout "Resident Dog vs. Family Dog"
FACT: that year, only ELEVEN of the 33 dogs could be identified as a particular breed. EIGHT different kinds of dogs were identified in those eleven incidents.
And yet, according to dogsbite.org (I suggest you don't visit the site, it's extremely frustrating and full of the worst kind of appeals and nonsense). "21 people of all ages were killed in 2011 by pit bulls."
Eleven is very different than 21, isn't it? Especially when you take into account that those eleven dogs accounted for eight different breeds. Now yes, some of the "unidentifiable" dogs were reportedly "pit bulls." But many were not. Heck, some of the dogs were never identified.
The eight breeds/eleven dogs were as follows:
- American Bully/American Pit Bull Terrier (resident dog, intact male)
- Siberian Husky (altered, family male)- history of killing family pets noted
- American Bulldog (intact, penned male)
- Rottweiler (altered- formerly bred, resident female)
- 2 intact Rottweilers (one male, one female, residents)
- American Pit Bull Terrier (resident dog, intact male)
- Wolf/Dog Cross (intact, resident male)
- Boxer (intact, resident male)
- German Shepherd (intact, family male)- history of aggression noted
- Rottweiler (intact male, resident)
But let's take this a step further. What are the commonalities we see here? What are two things we can do to prevent dog bites?
- Your dog should be a part of your family.
- Of the known breeds, only two of the eleven were "family" dogs and they both had troubled histories.
- Of the other dogs of indeterminate breed, fourteen of the nineteen identifiable cases were resident dogs, not family dogs (often involving multiple dogs with checkered histories).
- Everybody has a different idea what a "family dog" may mean, I get that. I'm not saying let your dog run your life. Yes, you should train your dog. A dog is still a dog.
- The NCRC says: "Family dogs are dogs whose owners afford them opportunities to learn appropriate behavior and to interact with humans on a regular basis in positive and humane ways, and who give them the tools necessary to live harmoniously in our world."
- AGAIN, of the known breeds, only two of the eleven dogs were altered. One had a troubled history, one had been bred previously and was in very poor condition.
- AGAIN, of the indeterminate breeds, fourteen of the nineteen identifiable dogs were not altered.
- Some people will always have reasons not to fix their dog. Here are my caveats:
- I can't think of one reason/excuse/justification not to fix a mixed breed or pit bull other than an allergy to anesthesia... Nope. There are way too many of these pups out there.
- If you're showing your dog or whatever other reason, you are taking on an additional risk and responsibility by not altering your dog. I expect you to live up to it.
- I don't like breeding of dogs. I think we have too many dogs in this country. Nevertheless, there will always be people who want purebred/ breed specific types of dogs. If you are a licensed and responsible breeder (again NOT of pit bulls or mixed breeds) who contracts for people to fix their dogs and follows up, enforces and keeps track of their dogs, that's not my fight.
Isn't that something we all want?