Pit Bull Attacks 5th Grader in Vallejo: Are Pit Bulls More of a Danger than other Breeds?

pit bull.jpgOn January 11, 2011, a fifth grader was walking down the street in Vallejo when he was attacked by a pit bull. The pit bull had been under the control of a friend of the owner when he went after the young boy. The dog bite took a large piece of flesh out of the young boy’s arm. Police are investigating whether the dog was intentionally let go, as claimed by the boy, or whether it escaped accidentally.

As an Alameda personal injury lawyer, the question arose in my mind, whether pit bulls are any more likely to bite and harm individuals than other breeds of dogs. It turns out the Center for Disease Control did a twenty year study to specifically address that question. The study covered the years 1979 through 1998. It looked at 25 different breeds of dog. The pit bull and the rottweiler were responsible for 67% of the dog bite related fatalities investigated, with the pit bull causing the most deaths.

The study seems to vindicate what we already intuitively know–Some breeds including the pit bull are simply more dangerous than others. Knowing this, shouldn’t owners of such animals be required to take special precautions to protect the public from their dogs to prevent attacks like those against the young Vallejo boy? Shouldn’t landlords and other property owners be held accountable for personal injuries when they let their tenants keep dangerous dogs on their premises, knowing they are more likely than other dogs to cause serious, and sometimes fatal injuries?

Victims of dog bites should know their legal rights. They may have legal recourse against the owner of the dog, and others such as landlords and property owners where the dog resides.

Resources:

ABC News, Pit bull attacks 5th grader, police won’t treat as crime, January 12, 2011
CDC Special Report, Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998, September 15, 2000

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