Injuries caused by dogs are widespread in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dog bite statistics, around 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year. Of people who are bitten, 17% require medical care for dog bite injuries. And of the people requiring care (almost 400,000 each year), 42% are children under the age of 15.
When considering owning a pet on Long Island and throughout New York State, it is important to research which breeds are the most dangerous. While all dogs have the potential to be aggressive and even cause harm, certain breeds have been known to be more prone to aggression than others.
Overview of Dog Bites by Breed
While certain breeds are known to bite more frequently or cause more severe injuries, a study in 2019 by The Ohio State University College of Medicine and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that the breed was unknown in about 60% of dog bite cases. Breeds that were identified included pit bulls and dogs with wide and short heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds.
Pit Bulls and Rottweilers: The Most Dangerous Breeds
A special report from 2000, Breeds of Dogs Involved in Fatal Human Attacks in the United States Between 1979 and 1998, further defines the most dangerous dog breeds. The study reported that almost 25 breeds of dogs were responsible for 238 human dog bite related fatalities in that time period. Pit bulls and Rottweilers were involved in 51% of these fatal dog bites injuries and attacks.
58% of the deaths were caused by unrestrained dogs on their owners’ property, 24% of the deaths involved dogs that were unrestrained and off their owners’ property, 17% involved restrained dogs on their owners’ property, and less than 1% involved a restrained dog off the owners’ property.
Breeds Most Likely to Bite or Attack
Here is a list of the aggressive dog breeds most likely to cause injury or death from severe dog bites and fatal dog attacks:
- Pit bulls, pit bull terriers, or pit bull type dogs – this can include dogs originally bred for dog fights like the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, or any other mix of this breed
- Rottweilers – a large powerful breed
- Mixed-breeds – a large dog that is a mix of two or more breeds
- German shepherd – these dogs are strong and German shepherds are known to be protective
- Mastiff/Bullmastiff – these dogs are large, powerful and territorial
- American bulldog – a large, strong breed
- Husky – this breed is known for its strength, speed and power
Owners of these types of aggressive dogs should be aware that they can be more likely to bite humans and cause dog-related injuries than other breeds, and take extra caution to ensure that their pet is well-trained and socialized. Additionally, it is important for owners of these breeds to keep them under control when out in public.
Other Dog Breeds
Though these breeds have been identified as causing the most fatal dog attacks and are at the top of the dog bite statistics, any protective, scared, injured, or startled dog has the potential to bite and cause severe injuries. Other dog breeds that may cause serious injuries include:
- Wolf-dogs – a large, strong hybrid of wolves and dogs that often exhibit undomesticated behaviors
- Doberman pinscher – this breed is muscular and has high energy levels
- Akita – this is an ancient Japanese dog breed that is loyal to its owner but can be very territorial
- Labrador retrievers or golden retrievers – popular family pets that may become aggressive when provoked
- Dalmatian – an active, energetic dog known for being high-strung that can be easily startled
- Standard Poodle – a large dog that is generally gentle but can act out of fear
- Chow chows – a protective breed that has been known to be territorial
- Jack Russell Terrier – an active, intelligent breed with a tendency to bite out of fear
Dog bites are not restricted only to large dogs. All dogs, big and small, have the potential to bite and cause significant injury. It is important for all Long Island pet owners to research their breed and the potential for aggression. Proper training and socialization can go a long way in ensuring that your dog does not become aggressive, and that if a bite does occur the severity of the injury is minimized. Pet owners must understand that while certain breeds can be more prone to aggression, all dogs have the potential to cause harm, and should not be taken lightly.
The Risks of Owning a Potentially Dangerous Dog
Owners of all breeds should be aware that dog bites can occur at any time without warning, even if the dog has never attacked before. Training and socialization are extremely important to ensure that all dogs, regardless of breed, remain safe members of society.
It is also important to remember that a dog’s behavior is heavily influenced by the dog’s owner. Proper training, exercise, adequate nutrition, and attention can go a long way in preventing any potential aggression from any breed. Owners of these breeds should also be aware that they may face certain restrictions in housing, insurance, and other areas due to their pet’s breed.
Overall, dog owners should be aware of the potential risks associated with owning a potentially dangerous dog. With proper attention and care, these breeds can still be loving members of any family. It is up to each individual pet owner to take responsibility for their pet’s behavior and ensure they are properly trained and socialized in order to minimize the risk of a bite or attack.
The Legal Implications of Dog Bites
New York follows a “one bite” rule when it comes to dog bite liability for owners of dangerous dog breeds. Under this law, owners can be held liable for an injury or attack their pet dog causes if they knew or should have known that their animal had aggressive tendencies.
Providing proof of a prior bite is one way to show previous aggressive behavior, but is not the only way to do so. A documented history of the dog’s behavior is necessary to hold dog owners in New York liable for injuries caused by their dangerous dog.
Reasons Why Dogs Bite
Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons unrelated to the dog’s breed. They may bite from fear and anxiety or because they are defending their territory. It is important to understand why dogs may become aggressive in order to ensure that similar situations can be avoided. Common triggers for dog bites include:
Fear and Anxiety
If a dog feels scared or threatened it may act aggressively as a way to protect itself.
Defending its Territory
Dogs may bite if they feel that their space is being invaded.
Protecting their Owners
A dog may become aggressive if it perceives a threat to its owner, even if the threat is not real.
Pain or Illness
If a dog is feeling ill or in pain, it may lash out if it feels threatened.
Lack of Socialization
Dogs that are not properly socialized may become aggressive to unfamiliar people or animals.
Boredom or Frustration
A dog that does not receive enough exercise or stimulation can act out by biting.
All pet owners should take these potential triggers into account when interacting with their pets in order to prevent aggression and potential injury.
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Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Incident
If a bite does occur, it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved. It is also important to document the incident in order to protect all parties involved. Steps to take after a dog bite include:
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Even if the injury appears minor, it is important to seek medical attention and have it checked out by a doctor.
Document the Dog Bite Incident
Take photos of any injuries and document any details such as the time and location of the incident. Get the owner’s name and contact information and any other information about the dog.
Report the Dog Bites
Report the incident to the appropriate agency on Long Island.
Contact an Attorney that Handles Dog Bites on Long Island
If you were the victim of a dog bite or lost a loved one in a fatal dog attack, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
How to Get Help for Your Dog Bite Injuries
By identifying the most aggressive dog breeds and taking special care around them, you can reduce your risk of being the victim of dog bite attacks. But if the worst happens and you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a dog bite attack on Long Island, contact Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P.
Our experienced dog bite attorneys will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. We represent dog bite victims on Long Island. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your injuries caused by an aggressive dog breed.