Fatal & disfiguring attacks declined, but pit bulls––just 5.6% of the U.S. dog population––inflicted upward of 75%
Far fewer dogs killed and disfigured people in the U.S. and Canada in 2018 than in 2016 and 2017, which saw new records set in almost every dog attack category that ANIMALS 24-7 tracks from media reports––but pit bulls in particular are not getting safer.
Total dog-inflicted fatalities fell from a record 57 in 2017 to just 40 in 2018. Pit bull-inflicted fatalities dropped from 40, 70% of the 2017 toll, to 31 in 2018, but that was 78% of the 2018 toll.
Pit bulls have killed fewer than 29 people in only one year since 2010. Until 2009, when pit bulls killed 24 people, 29 would have been a record annual total number of fatal attacks by all dog breeds combined.
The complete ANIMALS 24-7 breed-specific log of fatal and disfiguring dog attacks is posted here: Dog attack deaths & maimings, U.S. & Canada, 1982-2018 log.
ANIMALS 24-7 is still compiling the 2018 data on dog attacks on other animals, to be published as soon as possible.
No other breed type killed more than two people
Other dog breeds that killed people in 2018 included German shepherds and Rottweilers, killing two victims each, plus one victim each killed by Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasiliero/Cane Corso mix, Malinois, Presa Canario, and wolf hybrid.
Two pit bulls and a Presa Canario known to have been rehomed by animal shelters and rescues, presumably after passing behavioral screening, killed people in 2018. The total of three was the same number of known fatalities by shelter and rescue dogs as in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Victims of fatal attacks by shelter and rescue dogs in 2018 included Robin Conway, 64, in Howard County, Maryland; Susan Sweeney, 58, in Las Vegas, Nevada; and Khloe Williams, 7 months, in Clearwater, Florida.
Skew toward female victims
The 2018 fatality data included several apparent flukes.
ANIMALS 24-7 began logging fatal and disfiguring dog attacks by breed in 1982. In most years the numbers of male and female victims have been approximately equal, both in total and among pit bull victims.
For example, among the 40 people killed by pit bulls in 2017 were exactly 20 males and 20 females.
In 2018, by contrast, only five males were killed by dogs, four of them by pit bulls, but 35 females were killed by dogs, 27 of them by pit bulls.
Drop in attacks at year’s end
Also of note, in 2018 no male was reported killed by a dog after August 18, while dog attack deaths of females continued at a fairly steady pace until after mid-November.
Additionally, 2017 closed with nine fatal pit bull attacks from November 24 to the end of the year. Pit bulls through November 24, 2018 had killed 30 people, only one fewer than to the same date in 2017, but killed only one more person during the last 37 days of the year, while dogs of other breeds killed none.
Dogs killed 13 children in 2018, of whom pit bulls killed ten. None of the children killed by dogs were more than six years of age, and only one was older than four years of age.
Other breed types
Altogether, 810 dogs are known to have participated in killing or disfiguring Americans and Canadians in 2018, down 179 from 2017 and 265 in 2016.
Of the 720 humans who were killed or disfigured by dogs in 2018, 572, or 79%, were attacked by pit bulls and close pit mixes.
Another 52 people were disfigured––but none fatally injured––by dogs of breeds never officially identified, but as many as 40 of those dogs may have been pit bulls or pit mixes, from the limited information available.
No breed or breed type other than pit bulls accounted for more than 3% of the fatal and disfiguring attacks in 2018. The distant runners-up were German shepherds and their mixes; bull mastiffs and their mixes and variants; Rottweilers; and Akitas.
ANIMALS 24-7 counts as disfiguring injuries inflicted by dogs only those of life-changing severity, notably the most serious of those rating at Level 4 and those rating at Level 5 on the Ian Dunbar Dog Bite Scale, plus occasional non-bite injuries resulting in broken bones, heart attacks, strokes, and/or concussions causing lasting neurological damage.
Dogs are known to have disfigured 283 children in the U.S. and Canada during 2018, including 214 children who were disfigured by pit bulls (76%), the fifth year in a row that pit bulls disfigured more than 200 children.
Dogs are known to have disfigured 437 adults in the U.S. and Canada during 2018, among them a record 358 pit bull victims (82%), one more than in 2017.
As dog attacks resulting in lawsuits are often not reported until after the cases reach court, and other attacks are also sometimes reported late, it is possible that some of the above totals may rise during the coming months.
Fatalities inflicted by pit bulls & pit bull mixes
1) Laura Williams Ray, 53, West Monroe, LA – 1-9-2018
2) Rylee Marie Dodge, 3, Duncan, OK – 1-14-2018
3) David Brown, 46, Owensboro, KY – 2-16-2018
4) Loxli Chavez, 13 months, Cape Girardeau, MO – 3-9-2018
5) Noah Trevino, 4, Converse, TX – 3-25-2018
6) Hong Saengsamly, 49, Milwaukee, WI – 3-25-2018
7) Tracy Garcia, 52, Ardmore, OK – 5-10-2018
8) Georgia Ruth Morgan, 75, Gulfport, MS – 5-16-2018
9) Gauge Allen Eckenrode, 6, Lakemont, PA – 5-25-2018
10) Liana Valino, 9 months, Miramar, FL – 5-30-2018
11) Donald Steele, 91, Arcata, CA – 6-25-2018
12) Jaelah Smith, 6, Jacksonville, FL – 7-18-2018
13) Jaevon Torres, 2, Philadelphia, PA – 8-2-2018
14) Karen Brown, 57, Chicago, IL – 8-5-2018
15) Olga Rekhson, 64, Lake Tillery, NC – 8-9-2018
16) Gurney Pope Walker, 75, Rocky Mount, NC – 8-18-2018
17) Della Riley, 43, Cincinnati, OH – 8-22-2018
18) Deborah Russell, 63, Morgan County, MO – 9-1-2018 (heart attack)
19) Robin Conway, 64, Howard County, MD – 9-6-2018
20) Teena Carol Mawhorter, 74, Mount Shasta, CA – 9-6-2018
21) Mitchelle Dean Segerdahl, 53, Baker City, OR – 9-9-2018
22) Lisa Lloyd, 50, Langdon, Alberta – 9-16-2018
23) Khloe Ann Williams, 7 months, Clearwater, FL – 10-5-2018
24) Denali Gonzalez, 2, Alvin, TX – 10-12-2018 (Catahoula/pit mix)
25) Angela Smith, 55, Washington, DC – 10-15-2018
26) Trinti Harrell, 1, Rocky Mount, NC – 10-24-2018
27) April Collins, 45, Winchester, KY – 11-2-2018
28) Nora Sharp, 19 months, Windsor Township, PA – 10-4-2018
29) Cecileigh Garris, 6 days, Dunellon, FL – 11-11-2018
30) Sharon Lee Daniels, 77, Big Prairie Township, MI – 11-13-2018
31) Woman, not named, 82, Fresno, CA – 12-13-2018 (heart attack)
Fatalities inflicted by other dog breeds
Jenna Rae Sutphin, 28, Huntingtown, MD – 6-22-2018
Fila Brasiliero/Cane Corso mix
Kristie Kelley, 44, Neylandville, TX – 10-27-2018
Sharon Larson, 58, Milwaukee, WI – June 2018 (blood infection)
Paige Bradley, 5 months, Forest Park, GA – 6-13-2018
Malinois (Belgian shepherd)
Joseph Pettaway, 51, 7-8-2018
Susan Sweeney, 58, Las Vegas, Nevada – 10-1-2018
Gaia Nova, 3 months, Sherman Oaks, CA – 5-18-2018
Esta Currier 73, Marietta, NC – 12-10-2018
Aurora Little, 8 days old, Big Stone Gap, VA – 3-7-2018