Over a recent 3-year period from January 2006 to March 30, 2009, a total of 98 dog bite fatalities involving 179 dogs occurred; 60% of the deaths were caused by pit bulls, and 76% were caused by pit bulls and Rottweilers. A total of 113 pit bulls were involved in these deaths, and they accounted for 63% of the dogs involved in fatal attacks. If the risk of fatal attack is normalized to Labrador Retrievers and Labrador-mix breeds (the most common registered dog in the United States), the relative risk of death related to pit bull attacks is more than 2500 times higher.
In one 85-day period from July to September 2008, pit bulls were involved in 127 dog attacks, 57% of which occurred off the owner’s property. In these attacks, 158 people were injured, 63% of them severely; 10% of the victims suffered severed body parts; and 6 vic
tims were killed. 12 In the same period, 128 dangerous pit bulls had to be shot to death by police officers or citizens. A closer look at these figures indicates that 1 person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days, a person loses a body part to a pit bull attack every 5.4 days, 2 persons are injured by pit bulls each day, and 1.5 pit bulls are shot to death each day. –> Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs 2011
Temperament is not the issue, nor is it even relevant. What is relevant is actuarial risk. If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten, but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a pit bull terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed–and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price.
The humane community does not try to encourage the adoption of pumas in the same manner that we encourage the adoption of felis catus, because even though a puma can also be box-trained and otherwise exhibits much the same indoor behavior, it is clearly understood that accidents with a puma are frequently fatal. For the same reason, it is sheer foolishness to encourage people to regard pit bull terriers and Rottweilers as just dogs like any other, no matter how much they may behave like other dogs under ordinary circumstances.
Pit bulls and Rottweilers are accordingly dogs who not only must be handled with special precautions, but also must be regulated with special requirements appropriate to the risk they may pose to the public and other animals, if they are to be kept at all. –> Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada September 1982 to December 22, 2009