During a 14-year span that ended in 2018, 471 Americans died as the result of dog bite injuries. A victims’ rights organization, Dogsbite.org, says pit bulls caused two-thirds of all deaths followed by Rottweilers, which accounted for 10%.
Still, professional dog trainers say one breed is not naturally more aggressive than another. The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) says studies show golden retrievers are responsible for biting children more often than other breeds.
Why dogs become aggressive
The IAABC says canines become aggressive when they get excited over natural tendencies, such as seeking prey or protecting themselves and their owners. Dogs can become especially dangerous when these instincts kick in around other canines. Animal behavioralists say it’s similar to a group of people growing excited or agitated during rallies or even concerts.
Tips for avoiding dog attacks
If a frightening off-leash dog approaches you, there are many things you can do to keep safe, including:
- Do NOT run, scream or panic
- Stay as calm as possible
- Use a firm voice and command the dog to “sit” or “stay”
- Stand upright and avoid eye contact
- Give any food you have to the dog throwing it as far away as possible
- Get on top of something or try to keep the dog in front of you
Dog bites cause massive medical costs each year
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year, and 800,000 require medical treatment. As of 2014, New Jersey ranked 10th in the number of bites, but fourth in the total amount of damages paid out by insurance companies at more than $6 million. If you have been hurt in a dog attack, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you hold the owner responsible and receive compensation not only for your medical costs but also for the pain and suffering you experience.