Human deaths induced by dog bites, United States, 1974-75

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:
Winkler, W. G. (1977). Human deaths induced by dog bites, United States, 1974-75. Public Health Reports (Washington, D.C.: 1974)92(5), 425-429.

National Canine Research Council Summary and Analysis:

Winkler (1977) reported on deaths from dog bites for a two-year period (1974-1975) in the United States. The primary goal of this study was to identify possible causative factors in DBRFs in order to prevent future occurrences. However, due to the short duration of study and the extreme rarity of DBRFs the n (11) is very small, which means generalizations should be made with great caution and be highly qualified. The author encouraged the establishment of a national record of dog bite incidence in order to assess the magnitude of the problem, explaining that dog bite fatalities are not documented at the national level and the 11 cases found via news releases are an underrepresentation. If this were true, there would be a sampling bias for those cases that receive media attention.

The review consisted of 11 case histories in which the author presented details of the attacks including the victim’s age and gender, the sex, reported breed, and neuter status of the dog, and any other available details such as whether the dog was restrained, and the relationship between dog and victim. Several of the incidents involved chained dogs, and one particularly grim scenario involved a chained dog that was being stoned. The data showed potential threats were present in 6 of the 11 incidents. The dogs were more often male than female. Foreshadowing the findings of (Patronek et al., 2013), in most cases the victims were unable to defend themselves due to age (both children and the elderly). Based on these findings the author suggests that limiting unsupervised contact between dogs and physically incapable persons would be effective in preventing DBRFs, and that threatening behaviors (real or perceived) may be of high importance and should be studied further.

Abstract and Link to Full Text of the Original Article: