Fatal Dog Attacks Reach Record High in 2014, Off-Property Attacks Surge and Other Annual Trends by DogsBite.org
In 2014, dogs killed 42 people in the U.S.; the highest DogsBite.org has recorded in a single year. Pit bulls and their mixes contributed to 64% of these deaths.
Austin, TX February 11, 2015 -- On February 11, DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, releases its 2014 annual dog bite fatality statistics. Last year, dogs inflicted 42 deadly attacks in the U.S., the highest ever recorded by the Texas-based nonprofit. On average, a fatal dog attack occurred every 8.7 days in 2014. Pit bulls inflicted 64% (27) of these deaths. Rottweilers, the second most lethal dog breed, followed with 10% (4).
In 2014, the majority of breed-types that killed a person historically have been associated with lethal attacks. The combination of pit bulls, rottweilers and mastiff-type guard dogs and war dogs -- the kinds used to create "baiting" bull breeds and fighting breeds -- accounted for 83% (35) of all dog bite-related fatalities. Removing this small group of dog breeds leaves 7 dog bite fatalities in 2014, an annual death rate similar to the mid-1970s, before these breed-types rose in popularity.
Surge in Off-Property Attacks
In 2014, loose dogs off their owner's property inflicted 40% (17) of all dog bite fatalities. The combined 10-year rate -- from 2005 to 2014 -- of fatal off-property dog attacks is 24%. Last year, 88% (15) of these attacks involved dog owners that were direct or close neighbors to the victim or nearby property owners unfamiliar to the victim. Of this subset, 6 of these attacks occurred in large and midsized cities including, Houston, San Antonio, Modesto, Dayton, Paterson and Killeen.
2014 annual data shows that 57% (24) of all dog bite fatalities involved more than one dog in the deadly attack; 19% (8) involved a pack attack of four of more dogs; 31% (13) involved breeding on the dog owner's property, either actively or in the recent past and 5% (2) involved tethered dogs. At least 5% (2) also involved "rescue" dogs -- both attacks were inflicted by rescued pit bull-mixes. Of all dog attacks resulting in death last year, family dogs comprised 48% (20) of the aggressors.
Southern States Dominate
In 2014, the majority of all dog bite fatalities, 60%, occurred in the Southern United States, up from the combined 10-year rate of 54%. Texas once again led the nation in lethal dog attacks with 7 deaths. Florida followed with 5 deaths, North Carolina with 4 deaths and Alabama and Ohio each with 3 deaths. Two jurisdictions in 2014 -- Bell County, Texas and Montgomery County, Ohio -- each incurred 2 dog bite fatalities. Both fatal attacks in Montgomery County occurred in Dayton.
See related: 10-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart (2005 to 2014)
See related: 2014 Fatal Dog Attack Breed Identification Photographs
DogsBite.org is a national dog bite victims' group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks. Through our work, we hope to protect both people and pets from future attacks. Our website, www.dogsbite.org, was launched in October 2007 and contains a wide collection of data to help policymakers and citizens learn about dangerous dog breeds. Our research focuses on pit bull type dogs. Due to selective breeding practices that emphasize aggression and tenacity, this class of dogs negatively impacts communities the most. Our website hosts important dog bite studies, U.S. dog bite fatalities and other key bibliographies. In the Legislating Dogs portion of our site, we offer examples of breed-specific laws and documentation of the constitutionality of these laws. The Victim Realities section provides a glance into the unforgettable histories victims leave behind and much more. DogsBite.org operates out of Austin, Texas and can be contacted via: 512-650-8510 or . Research contributions and active website participation stems from individuals that span the United States of America and across the world.