Dog attacks have the potential to cause major injuries as well as devastating financial losses. In addition to medical expenses, lost income and other financial burdens, dog bite victims also deal with physical pain and psychological or emotional trauma in the aftermath of the attack.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, the experienced California dog bite lawyers at the Vaziri Law Group can help provide you with the legal guidance and support you need during these challenging times. You may be entitled to recover significant compensation for your injuries, damages and losses.
There is no such thing as a dog breed that is safe. It is critical to remember that any dog could attack at any time. However, it is also important to be aware of the dog breeds that have historically attacked the most and caused the most serious injuries and fatalities:
“Pit bull” is the generic name given to a variety of dogs that are also known as the American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier and so on. Pit bulls are the dogs of choice among individuals who breed dogs to fight one another. Pit bulls were selectively bred for their “gameness” or their ability to finish a fight.
Pit bulls are larger than average dogs and powerful. Therefore, the injuries they inflict could be catastrophic or even fatal. According to the safety advocacy website dogsbite.org, in 2021, 51 people were killed in U.S. dog attacks and of those, 37 were killed by one or more pit bulls and their mixes. Also, 21 of those victims were either the owner of the pit bull of a member of the dog owner’s family.
Studies have shows that pit bulls inflict the most severe injuries requiring a higher number of operative interventions – up to five times higher than other dog breeds. While safety advocates have called for blanket breed bans from several cities and municipalities, officials have been reluctant to enact them because of lobbying from other groups that maintain pit bulls attack because of negligent dog ownership.
While there is truth to that assertion, the following statistics cannot be ignored: Pit bulls only account for 6% of the U.S. dog population, but are responsible for about 69% of fatal dog attacks. As of 2021, pit bulls are also the leading canine killers of children, responsible for the deaths of about half of the children fatally injured in dog attacks.
According to dogsbite.org, rottweilers as a breed accounted for 8% of dog bite fatalities in the year 2019. Before pit bulls became known as the most dangerous breed of dog, rottweilers were often considered the most fearful breed. Rottweilers can grow more than 2 feet tall and weigh 120 pounds or more. They have large bodies and a temperament that can take a turn for the worse within seconds. For example, while the dog may be friendly to its owners and their loved ones, that protection may not be extended to visitors or guests. Rottweilers are known to be fiercely loyal and protective, but they can also become very aggressive, even to perceived threats. Rottweilers, like pit bulls, have a powerful bite that they know how to use effectively.
The American Bulldog is a descendant of the English Bulldog, brought to this country as early as the 17th century by immigrants who brought their working dogs with then. Small farmers and ranchers used this working dog as farm guardians, stock dogs and catch dogs. They demonstrate great strength, endurance and agility.
They can grow to over 2 feet tall and weigh over 100 pounds. They are strong dogs that can be extremely dangerous when they attack. The bulldog has a powerful bite and the ability to jump high and hard enough to knock an adult flat on his or her back.
The Doberman Pinscher cuts a unique silhouette that is recognizable by the cropped ears, straight back and an alert appearance. These dogs have historically been bred as guard dogs. The word “pinscher” is a German term referring to their habit of attacking and biting prey. This is also a breed that was bred for attacking. So, it is quite natural that they are aggressive and dangerous. They stand between 2 and 3 feet tall and weigh over 80 pounds. They are strong and have the ability to inflict severe injuries.
Wolfdog hybrids or wolfdogs are neither completely wild nor domesticated. Therefore, wolfdogs can be difficult to predict because it is had to know whether they inherited more of the wild wolf genes or the domestic dog genes. As a result, they may act erratically around humans. They could also potentially show aggression toward unfamiliar people leading to dog attacks. Because of their hunting instinct, they have the tendency to attack smaller animals as well. This tendency puts children at an even higher risk of being attacked because young children may sometimes seem like prey to a wolfdog.
German Shepherds have a reputation as working dogs. They have been used effectively in the military and in police departments because they are intelligent and powerful dogs that can inflict serious injuries on people. They stand about 2 feet tall and weigh close to 90 pounds. Despite their utility, German Shepherds tend to be aggressive and territorial and have been involved in a number of major injury or fatal dog attacks in the U.S. While they are highly trainable, they can also be dangerous.
Siberian huskies were used as sled dogs in the coldest regions of North America. Even though they weigh a less than larger dogs (about 60 pounds), they are strong for their size. These dogs have a strong predator instinct and most smaller animals (and smaller humans) can look like prey to them. Although these dogs can be friendly most times, they have been known to attack adults and children, even when they are unprovoked or have had no history of aggression.
While dogs come in all shapes and sizes, there are a number of factors that could make dangerous dog breeds threatening including the dog’s genetics, learned behaviors, socialization or lack of socialization, canine function, health and size of the animal, reproductive status, individual personality (temperament), environment, owner responsibility, and physical condition.
One thing most of the dangerous dog breeds have in common is that they are physically strong, have a honed-in instinct for hunting and don’t give up when they attack. This means they have the potential to cause injuries that result in catastrophic injuries, permanent or lifelong disabilities, severe disfigurement or even death. This is what makes these dangerous dog breeds the most threatening.
Dog aggression is often linked to the type of breed. It is also related to environmental and genetic factors. For example, some dog breeds such as pit bulls or Dogos Argentinos are bred to have a stronger aggressive instinct for fighting, hunting or guarding. Other breeds may have such aggression baked into their genetics. This could occur when two dogs are mated for one desired trait such as their longer fur and both breeds happen to be aggressive. This causes the pups to have such aggressive instincts as well.
Dogs that have aggression in their genes are more likely to attack when they are not properly cared for or in some cases, when they are abused. Responsible dog ownership is key here. For example, pit bulls that are not spayed or neutered may get more aggressive. Also, dog owners who did not do training or failed to properly socialize their dogs are also putting others at a higher risk of being bitten by their pets.
Here are some of the most common causes of aggression that step from behavior:
Need to assert dominance: This is often instinctual and common between dogs because of their pack mentality.
Territorial nature: Dogs naturally have the instinct to protect their household or their young ones. A dog may attack someone who it believes encroaches into their territory or poses a danger to its young or owners.
Pain or illness: Dogs that are sick or injured are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior.
Predatory nature: Some dog breeds are naturally predatory in nature. The hunting instinct is strong in them. So, they may attack other smaller animals or even young children.
Fear: When dogs are afraid or feel threatened, they may respond by attacking.
Misdirected aggression: Dog attacks may also occur when a dog is upset because it was restrained or prohibited from attacking another target. In such cases, the dog may turn its aggression toward the owner or the person who restrained it.
If you have been attacked by a dog or if your dog has been attacked by another dog, it is important that you report the incident immediately to your local police or animal control agency. It is against California law to allow a dog to roam around in a public place. Many California cities also have local leash laws or ordinances. You should also report a dog if it attacked you on someone’s private property where you were present for a legal reason.
If you or a loved one has been attacked and injured by a dog in California, please remember that you have legal rights. You may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of cosmetic surgery, psychological counseling, disabilities, disfigurement, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Call the Vaziri Law Group at (310) 777-7540 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.