Dog bite-related human fatalities have always been exceedingly rare, yet 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 discernible pattern or trend, even though the canine population in the U.S. has continued its steady increase.
From year-to-year, the truth behind the tragedy of dog bite-related human fatalities remains consistent. As rare as they are, they would be even rarer in the absence of reckless ownership practices, neglect, and abuse. If there is anything that analysis of these isolated tragedies can teach us, it is that all dog owners have an unequivocal responsibility for the humane care (including proper diet, veterinary care, socialization and training), custody (including licensing and microchipping), and control of their dogs.
Our mission to preserve the human-canine bond obligates us to be as accurate about these emotionally charged incidents as we are able, so that each individual case is calmly, correctly, and, therefore, usefully understood.
Accuracy takes time, which is why each final annual report typically takes one year to publish.
2012 Preliminary Report
2011 Final Investigative Report 2011 Preliminary Report
2010 Final Investigative Report 2010 Preliminary Report
Special Investigative Reports on 2010 Cases Originally Reported
to be Dog Bite-Related Fatalities
2009 Final Investigative Report
Research Must Improve Understanding
by Karen Delise