Dog Bite-Related Fatalities

 

Multiple, co-occurring factors identified in DBRF’s

 

The co-occurring factors are potentially preventable


Family dogs were rarely involved


Breed was not one of the factors identified

 

Dog bite-related fatalities are extremely rare

 

NCRC Annual DBRF reports 2009-2012

 

 

 


 

Multiple, co-occurring factors identified

 

In December, 2013, The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) published the most comprehensive multifactorial study of dog bite-related fatalities[1] (DBRFs) to be completed since the subject was first studied in the 1970’s. It is based on investigative techniques not previously employed in dog bite or DBRF studies and identified a significant co-occurrence of multiple potentially preventable factors. 

 

The results reported confirm the multifaceted approach to dog bite prevention recommended by virtually all previous studies, as well as by organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

 

The co-occurring factors are potentially preventable

 

Based on an analysis of all DBRFs known to have occurred over a ten-year period, the researchers identified a striking co-occurrence of multiple, controllable factors:

  • • no able-bodied person being present to intervene (87.1%);
  • • the victim having no familiar relationship with the dog(s) (85.2%);
  • • the dog(s) owner failing to neuter/spay the dog(s)(84.4%);
  • • a victim’s compromised ability, whether based on age or physical condition, to manage their interactions with the dog(s) (77.4%);
  • • the owner keeping dog(s) as resident dog(s), rather than as family pet(s) (76.2%);
  • • the owner’s prior mismanagement of the dog(s) (37.5%);
  • • the owner’s abuse or neglect of dog(s) (21.1%).

 

Four or more of these factors were present in 80.5% of the cases.

 

Family dogs were rarely involved

 

76.2% of the DBRFs in this study involved dogs that were not kept as family pets; rather they were only resident on the property. The distinction between a resident dog and a family dog[2] was first proposed years ago by NCRC Founder Karen Delise. Dogs are predisposed to form attachments with people, to become dependent on people, and to rely upon their guidance in unfamiliar situations. While it is extremely rare that dogs living as either resident dogs or as family pets ever inflict serious injuries on humans, dogs not afforded the opportunity for regular, positive interaction with people may be more likely, in situations they perceive as stressful or threatening, to behave in ways primarily to protect themselves.

 

Breed was not one of the factors identified

 

The authors report that the breed of the dog or dogs could not be reliably identified in more than 80% of cases. News accounts disagreed with each other and/or with animal control reports in a significant number of incidents, casting doubt on the reliability of breed attributions and more generally for using media reports as a primary source of data for scientific studies. In only 45 (18%) of the cases in this study could these researchers make a valid determination that the animal was a member of a distinct, recognized breed. Twenty different breeds, along with two known mixes, were identified in connection with those 45 incidents.

 

The methods used in this study can lead to better prevention

 

The trend in prevention of dog bites continues to shift in favor improved ownership and husbandry practices, better understanding of dog behavior, education of parents and children regarding safety around dogs, and consistent enforcement of dangerous dog/reckless owner ordinances in communities. Having reliably identified the potentially preventable factors that co-occurred in their case file, the authors recommend their coding method as a way of enhancing the quantity and quality of information compiled in investigation of any serious dog bite-related injuries.


This new study and its comprehensive methodology offer an excellent opportunity for policy makers, physicians, journalists, indeed, anyone concerned with the prevention of dog bite-related injuries, to develop an understanding of the multifactorial nature of serious and fatal incidents.

 

 

Click here to read "Potentially preventable husbandry factors co-occur in most dog bite-related fatalties"

 

Dog bite-related fatalities are extremely rare


Dog bite-related human fatalities have always been exceedingly rare, though they can attract the kind of publicity that creates an impression that they are more prevalent than they actually are. The annual total of such fatalities has risen and fallen with no discernable trend, while the canine population in the U.S. has continued its steady increase. The chart below shows the number for some common and uncommon injury related fatalities for 2011 (2011 is the most recent year which CDC fatalities are available).


                                                         (Sources for this graph)[3]

 

Responsible pet ownership is key to prevention


All dog owners have an unequivocal responsibility for the humane care, including providing a license and permanent id, spaying or neutering their dogs, providing training, socialization, proper diet, and medical care, and not allowing a pet to become a threat or a nuisance.


An increased awareness of these responsibilities may be reflected in the increasing percentage of the investigations that arise from all DBRF’s that result in criminal prosecutions of the owners and caretakers (compiled as part of NCRC’s exhaustive investigation of each reported case[4]).               


                           

(Sources for this graph)[5]

 

NCRC annual DBRF reports

 

We strive to understand the circumstances surrounding each case carefully and correctly, in an attempt to increase understanding that can lead to effective prevention.


This careful investigative process takes time, so each report is available approximately twelve months after the end of the year.

 

2013

 

                 

 

             2013 Preliminary Report 


 

2012

                        

 

    2012 Summary Report (2000-2012)       2012 Preliminary Report

 

 

2011

 

     2011 Final Investigative Report          2011 Preliminary Report 

 

 

2010

  2010 Final DBRF thumb                           2010 Prelim DBRF Report                

      

      2010 Final Investigative Report           2010 Preliminary Report

 

  

Special Report Horton thumb                        2010 Spec Report Baker Ohio thumb

 

    Special Investigative Reports on 2010 Cases Originally Reported

to be Dog Bite-Related Fatalities

 

 

2009

2009 Report thumb

 

    2009 Final Investigative Report

 

 

 

 

 

Updated September 25, 2014

 

 

 

SOURCES and NOTES:

 

 


 

[1] Patronek, G.J., Sacks, J.J., Delise, K.M., Cleary, D.V., & Marder, A.R. (2013). Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 243(12), 1726-1736. Retrieved from: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/abs/10.2460/javma.243.12.1726  

 

See also: National Canine Research Council (2013). Potentially preventable husbandry factors co-occur in most dog bite-related fatalities. Retrieved from: http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/Co-occurrence%20Whitepaper%20-%202013.pdf

 

[2] National Canine Research Council. (2013). Resident Dog vs. Family dog. What is the Difference? Retrieved from: http://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/NEW%20Resident%20v%20Family_revised%20Jan%202013.pdf

 

[3]

Unintentional Poisoning Fatalities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2011. CDC Wonder Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html

Query: Injury Intent: Unintentional; Injury Mechanism: Poisoning; Year: 2011 

Unintentional Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2011. CDC Wonder Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html

Query: Injury Intent: Unintentional; Injury Mechanism: Motor Vehicle Traffic; Year: 2011.

Unintentional Fatalities from Falls

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2011. CDC Wonder Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html

Query: Injury Intent: Unintentional; Injury Mechanism: Fall; Year: 2011.

Homicide

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2011. CDC Wonder Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html

Query: Injury Intent: Homicide; Injury Mechanism: All Causes of Death; Year: 2011.

Unintentional Fatalities from Drowning

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2011. CDC Wonder Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html

Query:  Injury Intent: Unintentional; Injury Mechanism: Drowning; Year: 2011

Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities:

Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Child Maltreatment 2011. Retrieved from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm11.pdf

Unintentional Pedestrian Fatalities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2011. CDC Wonder Online Database. Retrieved from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html

Query: Injury Intent: Unintentional; Injury Mechanism: Other Pedestrian; Year: 2011 

Dog Bite-Related Fatalities:

National Canine Research Council. (2014). Updated Information Following the Investigative Reports for Dog Bite-Related Fatalities: 2011.

 

[4] For more on this process, read Karen Delise’s methodology:

Delise, K. (2012). Research Must Improve Understanding. Retrieved from:  Improvehttp://nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/uploaded_files/tinymce/Research%20Must%20Improve%20Understanding_Delise_NEW.pdf

 

[5] National Canine Research Council. (2014).