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Most attacks by few dog breeds –

7:25 a.m. EDT June 30, 2014


A pit bull peers out from the opening of a door jam to its pen in the Denver Animal Shelter in this photograph taken June 23, 2005.(Photo: DAVID ZALUBOWSKI AP)

I just read the article "Preventing dog bites is up to all of us" (June 23) by Drs. Brit Anderson and Cinnamon Dixon. I applaud them for raising awareness concerning dog bites and community involvement to help with their prevention. However, I do not agree with the statement concerning an approach that does not include breed-specific legislation.

They quote the American Veterinary Medical Association concerning the legislation issue. But, according to the same organization, which did a 20-year study from 1979 to 1998 concerning fatal dog attacks, concluded "fatal attacks on humans seem to be breed specific (pit bull type breeds and Rottweilers)," and that "pit bull type dogs and rottweilers accounted for 67 percent of all 238 dog-bite related fatalities in the United States during that period, and, thus, it appears to be a breed specific problem with fatalities."

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia did a five-year study from 2001-2005 in which 137 out of 269 dog bites (51 percent) were identified as by pit bull terriers.

There are numerous studies concluding the same. In 2013, there were 38 dog-bite related fatalities in the US, and pit bulls accounted for 25 (78 percent) of these deaths (Pit bulls account for about 6 percent of the US dog population). Rottweilers and Pit bulls during 2013 account for 81 percent of the fatalities. During the period of 2005 to 2013 the same combination accounted for 74 percent of fatal attacks. Fifty-six percent of the deaths in 2013 were children under seven years old. In the first eight months of 2011, almost half of pit bull fatalities were the owner or primary caretaker.

The breed was developed during the Victorian era in England for "bloodsports." The breed cannot deny its genetic disposition.

The studies are clear, the statistics are clear and prove the genetic disposition. Nothing more need be said.

Philip Hautzenroeder, Montgomery

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