Are Pitbulls Dangerous
We call dogs man’s best friend for a very good reason – they make loyal and loving pets who enrich our lives. While any breed of dog can become aggressive, some are far more likely to do so than others. There are many examples of pit bulls who make excellent pets, but they are statistically more dangerous than other breeds, which makes implementing all the necessary safety precautions that much more critical.
If the bite of someone else’s pit bull – or any breed of dog – leaves you injured, an experienced New Jersey dog bite lawyer can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled and that you need to reach your fullest recovery.
The Truth about Pit Bull Attacks: Analyzing the Statistics
The likelihood of a specific breed of a dog attacking another dog or person is predicated on how likely they are to become aggressive, and reports indicate that pit bulls have little competition when it comes to top billing for canine aggression. Consider the following statistics:
- Pit bulls and rottweilers are statistically the most aggressive dog breeds in this country, but since 2005, the number of fatal pit bull attacks has been seven times higher than the number of fatal rottweiler attacks.
- In the decades from the 1970s to the 2000s, the number of fatal dog bites doubled, and during this time, the percentage of these fatalities that were caused by pit bulls also increased.
- Of the 238 dog-attack fatalities included in a decades-long government study, almost half involved pit bulls and rottweilers – with pit bulls outpacing rottweilers significantly.
- In a 15-year span that ended in the 2000s, more than 75 percent of the fatal dog attacks were caused by pit bulls and rottweilers.
While not every pit bull exhibits dangerous aggression, the breed is far more likely to do so, according to the statistics. This means that owners of pit bulls need to be vigilant in relation to the safety of others.
Dissecting Pit Bull Behavior: Insights from Scientific Research
Aggression is a top concern when it comes to any dog’s behaviors and the ASPCA shares that a wide range of pit bull behaviors fall into this classification. Humans, dogs, and many other species use aggression as a tool for maintaining social order and successfully negotiating social interactions.
Aggressive behaviors in pit bulls and other dogs tend to build as follows:
- Barking at the victim in a threatening, guttural manner
- Charging the victim without making direct contact
- Punching the victim with their muzzles
- Growling directly at the victim
- Snarling at the victim by baring their teeth and growling
- Snapping at the victim
- Nipping at the victim
- Attacking the victim outright
When a pit bull’s aggression isn’t checked, an attack can be imminent. Every dog – including every pit bull – has its own warning signs in relation to aggression, which makes it critical that dog owners get to know their pets’ tendencies and remain hyper alert in relation to escalating aggression.
A very important point to make about pit bulls is that they are one of the rare dog breeds that may attack without displaying any of the escalating warning signs of aggression. In other words, a pit bull’s aggressive display can seemingly come out of nowhere.
Canine Aggression: Pit Bulls in Comparison to Other Breeds
As noted, pit bulls are leaders when it comes to aggression, but there are many other dog breeds that are worthy of attention. Consider the following statistics:
- While rottweilers are a distant second to pit bulls when it comes to deadly attacks, this breed has a tight hold on its standing as the second-most dangerous breed.
- Of all the dog bites that required medical attention in a 40-year stretch, Akitas were responsible for 8 percent.
- In a 10-year stretch, American bulldogs were responsible for 1.1 percent of all fatal dog attacks.
- In a 30-year stretch, chow chows were responsible for seven fatalities and 58 dangerous attacks.
- Over 30 years, both German shepherds and Doberman pinschers were responsible for a significant number of fatalities and dangerous attacks.
- Wolf-dog hybrids have the potential to be exceptionally dangerous, and as a result, many states have strict regulations in place related to breeding and ownership.
Small dogs that are less likely to cause life-threatening damage can be highly aggressive, and the Chihuahua is a prime example.
The Human Factor: How Owner Behavior Affects Pit Bull Aggression
Both nature and nurture can play a prime role in how aggressive a pit bull – or any other dog – is. Factors such as behavioral tendencies, personality, and temperament are not completely genetic. How the animal is socialized, trained, and raised all play a role in how likely the pit bull is to become dangerously aggressive.
Setting the Stage for Safety
Dog owners with pets that are identified as being aggressive breeds – like pit bulls – must implement more care when their dogs are around other animals and other people. The basics when it comes to preventing pit bull aggression include all the following:
- Owners should socialize their pit bulls from early on to help ensure they are as comfortable as possible in a wide range of circumstances.
- Owners must prioritize the safety of others by remaining in control of their pit bulls when out in public and by knowing the circumstances that are likely to trigger their pets’ aggression.
- Owners are responsible for ensuring that their pit bulls get the exercise they need without putting others at risk.
- Pit bulls should be kept on short leashes that afford their owners maximum control.
- A pit bull owner who is physically incapable of controlling their pet on a leash should not own a pit bull.
- A pit bull that has identified someone in the household to menace will remain a risk to that person, which means the dog is a dangerous pet for the family.
- Spaying and neutering pit bulls helps to reduce the risk that they will attract other dogs to them and the risk that they will run.
- Consistently training a pit bull with a reward-based system is a good mechanism for teaching basic commands and ensuring greater manageability.
- Owners should keep their pit bulls back from other dogs and from other people, which includes not allowing strangers to pet their dogs.
- Because pit bulls are not good candidates for dog parks, owners must have the space and fencing in place to afford them the opportunities they need to run.
- Owners who focus on never giving their pit bulls a chance to harm other people or animals are the most successful at ensuring that others aren’t endangered by their pets.
Safety precautions can help prevent dog bites, but not always. You might still suffer a dog bite injury even if you are as safe as possible. If this happens, learn about your rights from a dog bite attorney.
Identifying the Varying Forms of Aggression
A pit bull’s aggression serves a purpose for the animal, and a better understanding of the roles the pet’s aggression plays can help the owner gain a better understanding of when aggression is likely to be a concern. Consider the following common purposes of a pit bull’s aggression:
- Pit bulls are territorial, which means a perceived intruder can trigger aggression.
- Pit bulls tend to be protective of their owners – or those they bond with – which means any perceived threat in relation to the pet owner’s safety can inspire aggression.
- A pit bull with a litter of puppies can exhibit immense aggression that is related to protection.
- When a pit bull feels cornered or trapped, the fear it experiences can lead to dangerous aggression.
- Pit bulls can become aggressive in relation to the possession of their food, their beds, their chew toys, their bones, or anything else, and a perceived threat can incite serious aggression.
- A pit bull’s perception of hierarchical order, its level of frustration, or the pain it experiences can all lead to dangerous aggression.
Attempting to stop a pit bull from reacting aggressively can lead to a refocusing of the animal’s aggression toward the person attempting to exert control. When it comes to pit bulls, the best policy is always severely limiting the circumstances in which these dogs have the opportunity to harm others.
Turn to an Experienced New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer for the Help You Need
If you or someone you love has been injured by a pit bull attack, the physical, financial, and emotional losses you experience can be immense. Dog owners in New Jersey are responsible for taking the reasonable precautions necessary to protect others, and failure to do so can prove exceptionally dangerous.
David J. Cowhey is a seasoned dog bite liability attorney at the New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyer whose impressive practice is focused on helping clients like you prevail with favorable claim resolutions that support their most complete recoveries. We are here for you, too, so please don’t delay in reaching out and contacting us online or calling us at 866-343-3181 for more information today.