Pit bulls have long gotten a bad rap and some cities or states have gone so far as to regulate ownership and breeding or even ban the breed altogether. Laws against pit bulls are often based on the assumption that the breed is more dangerous than others, but is this really true?
Below, we take a look at other dangerous dog breeds, why pit bull attack statistics might be high, and what owners contribute to the data. We’ll also give you information about what you should do if you are attacked by a pit bull or another breed of dog and how a lawyer can help.
Laws Against Pit Bulls
The laws surrounding dog breeding, ownership, and leashing differ between states. It’s important to get to know your state’s laws before buying or adopting a dog, especially if you intend to obtain a dog that is classified as “dangerous.”
Massachusetts Pit Bull Laws
In Massachusetts, it is illegal to breed or own a pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or Staffordshire bull terrier. The law applies to any dog that is more than 50% pit bull, as well as any dog that “has the appearance or characteristics” of a pit bull.
New Hampshire Has No Breed Regulations
New Hampshire is one of only four states with no laws regulating the ownership of dangerous dogs, meaning there are no restrictions on which breeds can be owned, or how many animals can be kept at a single time.
Many insurers are reluctant to provide homeowners’ coverage to families and individuals who own a pit bull or similar breed of dog. In some places, like California, it’s illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against homeowners for owning any breed of dog, regardless of whether or not it’s considered “dangerous.”
Insurance companies argue that they have the right to refuse coverage to anyone they deem too risky; Pit bull advocates argue that discrimination against owners of certain breeds is unfair and does nothing to address the problem of dangerous dogs.
Other Dangerous Breeds
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are several breeds of dogs that are more likely to bite or attack humans than others. These breeds include pit bulls, rottweilers, wolf-hybrids, mastiffs, dobermans, huskies, malamutes, and Staffordshire terriers. In addition, the CDC notes that unneutered male dogs of any breed are more likely to bite or attack than neutered dogs.
Similarly to pit bulls, rottweilers and wolf-hybrids are commonly bred for aggression and can be dangerous if not properly trained and socialized. These dogs are often employed as guard dogs or in illegal dog fighting operations, which further increases their propensity for violence.
Mastiffs like the Cane Corso and Dogue de Bordeaux are large breeds with a history of being used for guarding and hunting purposes and while they’re not typically aggressive by nature, their size and strength make them capable of causing serious harm if they do attack someone.
Dobermans and Staffordshire terriers were originally bred as working dogs but have also been associated with aggression after saturating the illegal dog fighting market.
Huskies and malamutes are well known to be gentle dogs but may attack people if they feel threatened or provoked. Even though pit bulls arguably have the worst reputation, there are many other breeds of dog that can be problematic in various circumstances.
Is It the Dog or the Owner?
According to a research published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, those who keep dangerous dogs are far more inclined to be convicted of criminal cases involving weapons, narcotics, liquor, domestic abuse, and violence against children.
These conclusions were further supported by a paper in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. When compared to the owners of other dogs, the owners of vicious or violent dogs reported considerably more unlawful actions. The report also suggested that these individuals had higher scores when tested for primary psychopathy and sensation-seeking behaviors.
The study indicated that people who owned aggressive dogs indicated considerably greater levels of narcissism, self indulgence, and criminal ideation. These dog owners were more likely to have gotten into physical fights, many of them had been arrested and had a prior criminal record, and they were significantly more likely to engage in illicit drug use than owners of non-vicious dogs.
Were You Bit By a Dog? A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to whether pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. While some evidence suggests that they may be more likely to be involved in violent incidents, other factors such as owner criminal history and socialization seem to play a bigger role in determining a dog’s behavior.
That said, if you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, regardless of the breed, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible and legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected. Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today to learn more about dog bite law or to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.