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"Dog Bite Fatalities Plummet 33%"
Dog bite fatalities were lower in 2008 than in 2007.
Over the decades, the annual number of dog bite
fatalities remains within a stable numerical range.
These incidents, which are extremely rare, are, to a
significant statistical degree, a product of dog owner
neglect and/or abuse
Slanesville, WV (PRWEB) January 8, 2009 -- Despite
the increase in the human population of the United States
to more than 300 million, and the canine population to
almost 74 million, human fatalities attributed to domestic
dogs fell by one-third in 2008, over the number reported
the year before, Karen Delise, Director of Research for the
National Canine Research Council, announced today.
"The fantastically rare incident of a dog killing a human
being was even rarer in 2008 than it was the year before,"
Delise said. The fantastically rare incident of a dog killing
a human being was even rarer in 2008 than it was the year
Because there are so few incidents, relative to the human
and canine populations, a rise or drop in the number of
cases exerts a misleading effect on the percentages.
Based upon my research, the number of these incidents
is not trending one way or the other, Delise said.
The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of
The Council has identified 23 canine-caused fatalities for
2008, as compared with 34 the prior year. Officials
investigating the 2008 incidents claim to have identified 10
different breeds or types of dogs in connection with these
23 fatalities, though experts caution that breed attributions
are usually made on the basis of physical impression, and
should not be considered reliable.
Delise points out that, while annual tallies fluctuate dramatically
in percentage terms, the raw numbers have remained within
well-defined limits. "Because there are so few incidents, relative
to the human and canine populations, " Delise notes, "a rise or
drop in the number of cases exerts a misleading effect on the
For example, there were more incidents in 1990, 25, than
there were in 2008. In 1998, there were 10. In 1999, there
were 27. In 2000, there were 19. Delise, who, over the past 20
years, has investigated fatal attacks extending back into the
19th century, does not consider these fluctuations significant.
"Based upon my research, the number of these incidents is
not trending one way or the other, Delise said."
Further, Delise points out that the fluctuations in both the
annual total of incidents and in the breed identifications of the
dogs implicated, pale before the constant factor that emerges
from these incidents: the failure of owners to humanely care
for and control their dogs.
"In the overwhelming majority of the cases Delise has studied,
cases extending as far back as the 1960's, the dogs involved
were not family dogs, that is, dogs that lived in the home with
the family. Rather, they were maintained outside the home, in
pens, yards, or on chains, and/or were obtained for the negative
functions of protection, fighting or guarding. Many resident
dogs are also victims, to varying degrees, of human neglect or
The Council will publish its final 2008 report later in the year,
following further investigation into the circumstances of last
year's fatalities. Civil and/or criminal proceedings against
irresponsible owners, are pending in a number of cases.
About Karen Delise/The National Canine Research Council
Karen Delise is the Founder and Director of Research for the
National Canine Research Council and the author of "The Pit
Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine
Aggression". (Anubis Publishing) She can be reached
at kdelise @ ncrcouncil.com.
The National Canine Research Council publishes well-
documented, reliable research to improve the lives of dogs
and the communities in which they live.
Posted on SHARE Yahoo group - Jan. 11, 2009