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Dog Bite Accident: Are Pit Bulls More Dangerous than Other Dogs?

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There is a common misconception that pit bulls are dangerous, mean, and aggressive dogs. This is not true. Aggression is not a trait of any dog breed. If a pitbull appears dangerous and attacks you, it may be because it experienced abuse or was not trained to socialize with others. 

On the contrary, this dog is sweet, lovable, and protective when raised in a warm and friendly environment. Read further to learn about pit bulls.

Interesting Facts About Pit Bulls 

Pit bulls are, unfortunately, often misunderstood breeds of dog. Despite their dubious reputation, pit bulls have fascinating and surprising facts that shed light on their genuine nature and history. 

Fact 1: Pit bulls are also called nanny dogs.

Pit bulls were called nanny dogs because they were natural caretakers. In the 1900s, pit bulls were the top choice for a family dog that helped protect children. They were loving and loyal, especially to kids. 

You may want to follow the tips below if you want to train a pit bull to be a good family dog:

  • Train your dog to be comfortable with other people.

If you have a pit bull, it is best to create a pleasant environment by exposing the dog to different people. This will help the dog be comfortable and relaxed when approached by other individuals.

  • Use positive reinforcement when training your pit bull.

When you want to train a pit bull, use positive reinforcements, such as giving treats when the task is completed and done correctly. With this practice, your dog will feel safe and secure with you. 

Here’s a guide to help you use positive reinforcement when training your dog:

  • Identify the kind of treat that works best for your pet.
  • Use small pieces of treats so that your dog will look for more. This helps develop its eagerness to accomplish tasks consistently.
  • Choose a variety of treats to keep handy so your dog will not get used to the same taste every time.
  • You should include a verbal reward or praise each time you use the treat. For instance, you may say ‘good dog’ before giving the food.
  • Teach your dog to be comfortable and disciplined around other dogs. When your pit bull puppy becomes friendly with other dogs, you will avoid triggering situations where it causes harm to other canines and humans. 

Fact 2: Pit bulls are not a dog breed.

Pitbull is an umbrella term for four dog breeds, namely:

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Bully

There are minimal differences between the said dog breeds. This is why it is suggested to have DNA testing done to determine your dog’s pit bull type.

Fact 3: In the 1970s, pit bulls were trained to fight.

Historically, pit bulls were trained to fight. This was considered a ‘blood sport.’ Because of this, it became a notion that pit bulls were dangerous. In reality, every dog has a distinct personality, similar to that of a human.

Fact 4: Most pit bulls experience ear cropping.

Sometimes, owners crop their pit bulls’ ears to make them look ferocious. Naturally, this type of dog has a ‘rosebud’ ear. This means that their ears are softly folded over their heads. There are certain disadvantages when you crop your dog’s ears, such as:

  • Your dog may be prone to infection.
  • It may have a negative effect caused by the anesthesia used.
  • Ear-cropping may cause a traumatic experience for the dog. 
  • It has no health benefits for the dog. 

Are Pit Bulls More Dangerous than Other Dogs?

The question of whether pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs is a contentious and debatable one. 

According to some data, it has been proposed that although pit bulls make up just 6% of the dog population in the United States, they have been implicated in 68% of reported dog bite incidents since 1982. A former report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention regarding dog-bite fatalities determined that pit bull bites have resulted in more fatalities than any other dog breed. 

Moreover, various sources indicate that children face the highest risk of pit bull-related attacks. A 2019 American Animal Hospital Association study noted that pit bulls accounted for the largest percentage of reported dog bites in all the studies conducted, at 22.5%, mixed breeds at 21.2%, and German Shepherds at 17.8%.

However, some pit bull advocates disagree that pit bulls are more dangerous than other canines. According to Marcy Setter of the Pit Bull Rescue  Center, “There is not any breed of dog that is inherently more dangerous.”

While pit bulls significantly contribute to the number of dog bite accidents in the United States, various factors affect the statistics, including:

  • The prevalence of a specific dog breed in a given location can impact the reported bite statistics. There may be a greater risk of Pitbull-type dog bite incidents in an area with more dogs.
  • Pit bulls face unfavorable perceptions as a result of their background in dogfighting. These preconceived notions can impact people’s impressions of the breed.
  • Responsible dog ownership, adequate training, and socialization impact a dog’s behavior. All dogs, including pit bulls, may be affectionate and well-mannered if properly raised and taught.

It is not true to say that pit bulls are naturally more dangerous than other breeds of dogs. Instead, a dog’s behavior is influenced by various factors, and breed should not be the primary determinant of a dog’s perceived threat. Owners should practice responsible pet management, training, and socialization to raise well-behaved and safe pets of any breed.

How Does a Dog Become Harmful?

While pit bulls are naturally loving, caring, and friendly, several dog owners choose to train their dogs to be aggressive. Other reasons why dogs become harmful include the following:

Dogs that are not vaccinated.

Dogs carry germs and bacteria that may be harmful to humans. In some cases, it may cause mild to severe illnesses, such as:

  • Rabies
  • Ringworms
  • Leptospirosis
  • Salmonella and others

While they are still puppies, make sure that you complete all necessary vaccinations to avoid having harmful diseases.

Dogs that are trained to fight.

Unfortunately, some people still patronize dog fighting and train their pets to be aggressive, harsh, and dangerous. Canines that are prepared to fight are often abused.

Dogs that are not socially trained.

Dogs that are uncomfortable with other dogs and humans are likely to attack others. This is why training your puppy to be friendly with other dogs and individuals is essential. 

Dogs that grew up in an abusive environment.

Aside from dogfighting, some dogs experience abuse through:

  • Negative reinforcements
  • Verbal punishments
  • Isolation 
  • Rejection 
  • Over-pressuring
  • Physical restraints and others

What Happens When a Dog Bites Me?

When a dog bites you, they are usually abused, triggered, or trained to do so. In some cases, canines who are positively trained can still experience dog bite accidents and attack other animals or humans when provoked. There are adverse health effects when a dog attacks you, such as:

  • Infection: Some bacteria can live in a dog’s mouth. An individual’s immune system weakens when infected by a dog, which may result in other illnesses. 
  • Nerve and muscle damage: When a dog bites you, it can damage specific nerves and muscles, leaving open wounds and marks.
  • Broken bones: A dog bite can break your bones in severe cases. You may need long-term rehabilitation and other medical treatment.
  • Rabies: Rabies is a critical viral condition that hits the central nervous system. It can escalate to death within a few days of infection when you fail to seek treatment for a dog bite injury.
  • Death: Infections and diseases left untreated may eventually lead to death. This is why seeking medical attention immediately when a dog attacks is essential.

What to Do When a Dog Bites You

Despite training a dog, it can still cause dog bite accidents, mainly when triggered. In case you are involved in a dog bite accident involving another person’s pet, it is best to follow the steps below:

  • Seek medical treatment immediately.
  • Exchange personal information with the dog owner.
  • Document testimonies from witnesses, if there are any.
  • Take photographs of injuries if possible.
  • Reach out to a dog bite accident lawyer.

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim for a Dog Bite?

If another individual’s dog bites you, you can pursue a claim against the dog’s owner to seek compensation for your injuries. California Civil Code 3342 establishes that a dog owner is liable for damages when their dog bites someone, whether on public or private property. 

To successfully win a dog bite claim, you generally need to demonstrate the owner’s negligence, which typically involves proving:

  • The owner had a duty to control the dog’s behavior and actions.
  • They failed to fulfill this duty.
  • This breach of duty led to a dog-bite incident.
  • The incident resulted in injuries and other damages.

However, sometimes, you may encounter challenges when pursuing the liable party in the dog bite accident, such as lacking evidence, bargaining for reduced compensation, and putting partial blame on you. When this happens, you may contact a personal injury lawyer to help you solve your case. 

Conclusion

It is not true that pit bulls are inherently dangerous. Should a pit bull seem threatening and engage in an attack, it could be a result of prior mistreatment or a lack of training in socializing with others. This is why owners should ensure that their dogs are happy and healthy to avoid dog bite accidents.

Works Cited

Pit Bull Myths, https://humanesocietyhbg.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Pit_Bull_Myths.pdf. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Alter, Charlotte. “KFC Victoria Wilcher: Why Do So Many Pit Bulls Maul Children?” Time, 20 June 2014, https://time.com/2891180/kfc-and-the-pit-bull-attack-of-a-little-girl/. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Bender, Amy. “How to Train Your Pit Bull Dog to Be a Good Family Pet.” The Spruce Pets, 8 March 2022, https://www.thesprucepets.com/pitbull-training-1118246. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Brown, Sheila. “Understanding the Pit Bull Stigma.” PetHelpful, 14 March 2023, https://pethelpful.com/dogs/The-Pit-Bull-Dog-Once-Knows-as-the-Nanny-Dog-What-Happened. Accessed 18 October 2023.

“LA County Department of Public Health.” LA County Public Health, http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/procs/civildog.htm. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Lockwood, R. “Dog-Bite-Related Fatalities — United States, 1995-1996.” CDC, 30 May 1997, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00047723.htm. Accessed 18 October 2023.

McReynolds, Tony. “New study identifies most damaging dog bites by breed.” AAHA, 6 June 2019, https://www.aaha.org/publications/newstat/articles/2019-06/new-study-identifies-most-damaging-dog-bites-by-breed/. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Mulla, Shagufta. “Signs of an Abused Dog.” Cuteness.com, 13 February 2023, https://www.cuteness.com/article/mental-effects-abuse-dog. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Pinzhoffer, Jane. “Pitbull Ear Cropping – Why Is It Done and Should It Be Stopped?” The Happy Puppy Site, 17 January 2023, https://thehappypuppysite.com/pitbull-ear-cropping/. Accessed 18 October 2023.

“Positive reinforcement training.” The Humane Society of the United States, https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/positive-reinforcement-training. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Tavella, Vincent J. “Dog Bite Treatment: First Aid, Seeking Help, and Prevention.” Healthline, 28 September 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/dog-bite-treatment#complications. Accessed 18 October 2023.

Taylor, Cynthia, and Mike Hoskins. “What Illnesses Can You Catch From Your Dog?” Healthline, 26 July 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/humans-catching-from-dogs#types-of-illnesses. Accessed 18 October 2023.

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