It’s Pit Bull Awareness Month!
Fact or Fiction: Whenever there’s a news story about a dog attack, it’s almost ALWAYS a pit bull.
Fact. Dog bites and attacks involving pit bulls are reported 85% more often than attacks by any other breed of dog. A 2008 study by the National Canine Research Council studied a series media reports of dog attacks that occurred during a four day period in 2007. On day two, a mixed-breed dog attacked and killed a small child. The local newspaper ran two stories. On day four, two tethered pit bulls broke free from their chains and attacked a woman who was trying to protect her small dog. The woman was hospitalized. Her dog was uninjured. The attack was reported in 230 articles in national and international newspapers, as well as all of the cable news networks.
Last year, our clinic ran its own experiment. We scanned the names of children that had been killed by dogs, looking for names that would be easy for Google to find. On July 25th, 2008, 14-month-old Addison Sonney was killed by an English Sheepdog mix. A Google search of her name produced 28,900 results. Seven weeks prior, 7-year-old Tanner Monk was killed by two off-leash pit bulls. A Google search of his name produced an astounding 1,960,000 results. The American media consumer has an insatiable appetite for stories involving pit bull attacks. And our media providers are more than happy to feed us.
It is also important to note that in a study that included veterinarians and animal professionals, pit bulls were incorrectly identified 89% of the time! So the next time you hear a news report a “pit bull attack”, remember there is only an 11% chance that the dog has been correctly identified as such.