Summary & Analysis: Fatal and near-fatal animal bite injuries

To best understand this article in the context of the Dog Bite-Related Fatality (DBRF) literature, please see National Canine Research Council’s complete analysis here.
Article Citation:
Clark, M. A., Sandusky, G. E., Hawley, D. A., Pless, J. E., Fardal, P. M., & Tate, L. R. (1991). Fatal and near-fatal animal bite injuries. Journal of Forensic Sciences36(4), 1256-1261.

National Canine Research Council Summary and Analysis:

Clark et al. (1991) presented three brief case reports involving children and animal bites. The purpose was to report these incidents and describe the associated injuries, though it is unclear why these three cases in particular were highlighted. Two involved canines, with reported breeds being a Siberian husky and either a “pit bull,” Rottweiler, or both, and the last was an incident involving a circus tiger. Neither the geographic location nor dates were reported for any of the incidents. The authors did not report how breed was determined, and in one of the two cases the identity of the dog involved was undetermined. There is an uncritical discussion of “pit bull” involvement in DBRFs as the authors cite previous studies that rely on visual breed identification. By their own admission they do not know whether a “pit bull” was involved in any of their reported incidents. The authors note that, “animal bite injuries and fatalities are increasing in incidence” but do not provide a source or context for this statement. Because of the minute sample size and lack of contextual factors, the two canine-related cases cannot be extrapolated to the greater DBRF literature or population.

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