Denver Pit Bull Ban Debate
In February of this year, you may recall Denver going through a debate regarding Pit Bulls. There was a great deal of back and forth and many late nights with Denver citizens and the City Council. As Denver dog bite attorneys, we were very aware of the situation.
Eventually, the City Council passed a measure to overturn the 30-year ban. However, only days after that measure passed, Mayor Michael B. Hancock vetoed it. The Mayor cited concerns he received from citizens and the safety of the community as the reasons for his veto.
The initial ban was put in place in 1989 as a result of several fatal pit bull attacks, including one that killed a 2-year-old. Dog bite cases like this, not just here in Denver, have led to many communities in the nation banning pit bull breeds.
Pit Bull Dog Bite Facts
Each year in the United States, almost 5 million people are bitten by a dog, according to the AAHA. And, sadly, most common victims are children. But, most of those children are bitten by family pets.
While the data is sort of erratic when it comes to dog bites report, the breed “unknown” tops the list. But, right at number two is the pit bull, followed by mixed breed, German shepherd, terrier, and rottweiler. Percentage-wise, pit bulls account for 22.5% of all reported dog bites.
When it comes to fatal dog bite cases, sadly, pit bulls do top the chart, accounting for 65.6% of fatal attacks from 2005 to 2017, according to dogbite.org. Rottweilers were second on the list, but only at 10.4%.
Which Dogs Bite Most Often
The dog breed that bites most often is the Labrador retriever at 13.3%. This surprises many, given the subdued nature of labs, but it goes to show that you cannot assume that all dogs are friendly based on their breed. Most dogs develop aggressive behaviors based on their training, again making their owners liable for their attacks. As dog bite attorneys, we very rarely see a dog naturally bite or attack. They usually only do so if frightened or they feel provoked. Or, sometimes when they are teased (pulling tails) or when playing is interpreted as being threatened. That could also be why a lot of victims of dog bites are children. Most dogs will give people an indicator they are distressed, such as growling. In which case, stop what you are doing and leave the situation.
Back to the Ban
While it is clear that pit bulls are not the leading dogs when it comes to dog bite cases, there is no doubt that they are the most severe when they do bite. The fact of the matter is, there are more hospitalizations, long-term disabilities, and fatal attacks associated with the breed.
However, it all comes down to the owner of the dog. The owners are ultimately the ones responsible for the dog’s training and behavior. If you own a pit bull, you must be more vigilant, given that they are very strong. They are also very loveable and adorable, like most dogs! But, unfortunately, they do fall under more scrutiny, given the damage they can inflict.
Regardless of what you think about the Denver ban, we can all agree that dog bites can be very serious. A dog attack can severely alter one’s life. If you, or a family member, have suffered a dog bite and have questions, give us a call at 303-372-6145 or schedule a free consultation online. Our job is helping you make informed decisions and getting your quality of life back.