Pit bulls killed 92% of dogs killed by dogs & 96% of cats killed by dogs
“Pit bull roulette” cost the lives of 39 humans, plus nearly 13,000 dogs, 5,000 cats, and more than 20,000 farmed animals in 2017––and, only two weeks into 2018, has already killed Happy Hound Hotel boarding kennel worker Laura Williams Ray, of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, and three-year-old Rylee Marie Dodge, of Duncan, Oklahoma, along with many dozens of animals.
Ray and Dodge were respectively the 10th and 11th humans to die in dog attacks in the 51 days between November 24, 2017 and January 14, 2018, and were the 9th and 10th humans to be killed by pit bulls.
Overall, pit bulls accounted for 68% of the human dog attack deaths in 2017, 88% of the human disfigurements, 92% of the dogs killed by other dogs, 94% of the dogs seriously injured by other dogs, 96% of the cats killed by dogs, and 74% of the farmed animals killed by dogs.
What is “pit bull roulette”?
“Pit bull roulette” is the gamble that a pit bull can be safely introduced into proximity to other living beings.
“Pit bull roulette” could be called “playing chicken,” except that chickens, unlike pit bull owners and advocates, have better sense than to do anything of the sort.
Common variants of “pit bull roulette” include “sidewalk roulette,” “dog park roulette,” “animal shelter adoption roulette,” which killed five humans in 2017, “kennel roulette,” the variant that killed Ray, and “household roulette,” the variant that killed Dodge.
Typically the victims––who are sometimes the players––have no idea that their lives have been gambled.
The more living beings to whom a pit bull is exposed, or the more pit bulls are part of the scenario, the higher the odds that one or more living beings will be killed or injured.
Nearly 50,000 dogs, including nearly 47,000 pit bulls, killed or injured humans or other pets and/or farmed animals in the U.S. during 2017.
One pit bull in 80 kills an animal or human in any given year
Since there are only about 3.7 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, the odds start at about one chance in 80 that any given pit bull will kill a human or animal in any given year––compared to about one chance in 24,666 that any given dog of any other breed will kill any pet or farmed animal.
That’s right: the odds are 308 times higher that a pit bull will kill a human, pet, or farmed animal in any given year than that a dog other than a pit bull will.
Multiply that one chance in 80 by the 10-year average lifespan of a dog, and about one pit bull in eight will become a killer––if the pit bull lives a normal lifespan. With a turnover rate of nearly 33% per year, and 50% for adult pit bulls, most do not live even half a normal lifespan.
Risk compared with driving
By way of further comparison, the odds are about one chance in 520 that any given licensed driver will be involved in an accident that kills a human in any given year, and one chance in 62 that a driver will roadkill an animal during the year.
In other words, keeping or being around a pit bull starts out being almost as dangerous as driving, long recognized as the most dangerous thing that the average American does.
But vehicular safety is subject to strict regulation.
Drivers are required to be heavily insured, and to take classes and pass tests before they get a driving permit. Both drivers and passengers are required to wear seat belts.
Traffic lights and stop signs at every intersection reduce the risk of collision.
Nothing stops speed freaks or drunks from walking their pit bulls
Police patrol the roads around the clock to try to intercept speeders and drunk drivers.
No similar measures exist to limit the risk from pit bulls. Anyone, including drunks, can take a pit bull almost anywhere, without passing any safety tests and without being insured.
And, as with driving, any reckless behavior can markedly increase the odds that a pit bull will kill or injure another living being.
Injuries to other animals
Incidentally, pit bulls seriously injure other dogs almost as often as killing them outright. Of the estimated 17,325 dogs seriously injured by other dogs in the U.S. in 2017, 16,263––94%––were pit bull victims.
Cats and poultry too seldom survived dog attack injuries in reported cases to project how many might have been injured.
Of the 9,600 hoofed animals believed to have been killed by dogs in 2017, about 6,075 (63%) were killed by pit bulls. Of the 7,950 hoofed animals believed to have been attacked by dogs who survived, 5,516 (69%) were attacked by pit bulls.
How the numbers are estimated
How are the “pit bull roulette” numbers for animal attacks derived?
First, ANIMALS 24-7 collects and logs published accounts of dog attacks on other pets and farmed animals throughout each year, just as we have collected accounts of fatal and disfiguring dog attacks on humans since 1982.
However, fatal dog attacks on humans are always reported by news media––we are unaware of any verified exceptions––and disfiguring dog attacks on humans often make news, though there is a significant under-reporting factor.
Compensating for under-reporting
Comparing published accounts to insurance industry payout data indicates that only about one human injury in 25 that results in a payout involves a disfigurement reported by media. In other words, the disfigurement data we track amounts to only the worst 4% of serious dog bites.
By contrast, we have learned from reviewing accounts of dog attacks on other pets and farmed animals that they are almost never reported unless either of three other circumstances were involved in the same incident: a human was killed or disfigured in the same attack; law enforcement shot the attacking dog or dogs at the scene; or farmed animals valued at more than $1,000 were killed.
Also, dog attacks on other pets and farmed animals belonging to the same household are almost never reported, unless a human is killed or disfigured in the same attack.
We experimented with several different methods of accounting for the under-reporting factor, before discovering that applying the same factor involved in reporting human injuries produces the most consistent results from year to year, with one adjustment: the reported numbers from documented attacks should be multiplied by at least three, to compensate for non-reporting of attacks occurring within the dogs’ own households and attacks in which no one is seriously injured, the attacking dog or dogs are not killed, and there is no loss of animals with market value of more than $1,000.
Our formula, accordingly, is that reported dog attacks on other pets and farmed animals are presumed to be 4% of the cases that might result in insurance claims, with the total number three times as high.
If “R” stands for “reported dog attacks” and “U” for “unreported dog attacks, the algebra is R/4×100 x 3(R+U) = total.
Other breeds & unidentified attackers
ANIMALS 24-7 logged fatal attacks on other pets and farmed animals by 13 breed categories other than pit bull in 2017, including 14 attacks by German shepherds and German shepherd mixes, 12 attacks by huskies, seven attacks by Rottweilers, three each by Labrador retrievers, two each by Lab mixes, mastiffs, and St. Bernards, and one each by border collie, cane corso, Doberman, mastiff/husky mix, pointer, and Rhodesian ridgeback.
The German shepherd and German shepherd mix total projects to 1,100 animals killed; the husky total to 900; and the Rottweiler total to 525.
The 5% of attacks in which the attacking dogs were unidentified were proportionately allocated among the breeds involved in the other 95%.
Hoofed animals & poultry
Attacks on farmed animals, listed as “Other” animals in the appended chart, may be divided into two categories: hoofed animals, including mostly sheep, cattle, horses, and goats, and poultry, mostly chickens.
The numbers of hoofed animals killed by dogs each year are approximately as consistent as the numbers of dogs and cats. The numbers of poultry killed tend to fluctuate widely, because of the very high numbers killed in the worst reported incidents, in which dogs––usually pit bulls––break into commercial poultry barns.
The lowest figures for “other,” from 2016, reflect that we received few reports of dog attacks on commercial poultry barns during that year. Thus the 2016 “other” totals were projected mostly from attacks on hoofed animals, whereas the 2017 “other” projection included several of the most serious attacks on commercial poultry barns of which we have record.