May 22, 2013 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From the Law Offices of Kenneth M. Phillips, Beverly Hills, CA
For further information: Kenneth M. Phillips, 310-858-7460
A Dog Attack Danger Scale To Keep You and Your Kids Safe
The “Dog Bite King’s” 6-point test will tell you which dogs you better avoid
The dog days of summer are soon upon us. Kids look forward to it all year. Later sundowns make for longer vacation days. More time to roam the neighborhood, visit friends’ homes, and play at the park. What’s there to worry about?
“Dogs,” some would say. There are 76.7 million children in the USA this year, and 83.3 million dogs. (Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being; American Pet Products Association, New Survey Reveals Pet Ownership At An All-Time High.) In other words, there is one dog for every child in this country.
That can mean trouble. So, as the school year comes to an end, one week in May is devoted to dog bite awareness. There are three good reasons for this. First, children are the primary victims of dog attacks (Centers for Disease Control, Dog Bite Prevention). Second, the number of dog attacks is growing every year (Kenneth M. Phillips, The Dog Bite Epidemic: A Primer). Third and most sobering, the severity of dog attacks has been growing too: hospitalizations because of dog bites have increased 88% over the past 16 years (US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Hospital Admissions for Dog Bites Increase 86 Percent Over a 16-Year Period), and the number of people killed by dogs has more than doubled in roughly the same period (Kenneth M. Phillips, Canine Homicides: July 2006 to the Present).
Just last month, two toddlers in California were mauled by a friend's pit bull while playing in his yard. (Los Angeles Times, Two toddlers attacked by pit bull in San Bernardino County.) To Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips, the circumstances of the attack could have alerted the dog owner and the boys’ parents that something terrible could happen. Phillips is the author of Dog Bite Law and represents dog bite victims throughout the USA, making him “the dog-bite king of the legal world” (Mike McKee, A Legal Career Goes to the Dogs: L.A. Solo Represents the Human Victims of Canine Attacks, The Recorder).
Phillips has handled thousands of dog attack cases over the years, the result of which is his 6-point “dog attack danger scale” to tell you which dogs you and your children should stay away from. As he puts it, “The presence of any one factor indicates danger. Two or more of these danger-signs should be avoided at all costs.” Here’s what to look out for:
A dog in its own yard, and no master present. In 2012, at least 5 of the 37 fatal dog attacks happened in this manner. (Kenneth M. Phillips, Canine Homicides: July 2006 to the Present).
Pit bull, Rottweiler, Akita or Chow. Most fatal dog attacks are by pit bulls. To date in 2013, 13 out of 14 fatalities have been caused by pit bulls. (Colleen Lynn, 2013 Dog Bite Fatalities.)
The pack mentality. Three dogs are worse than 2, 4 are worse than 3, etc. Docile dogs often become uncharacteristically violent and vicious when they are in a pack. In 2013, 15 of the 37 canine homicides were caused by two or more dogs. (Kenneth M. Phillips, Canine Homicides: July 2006 to the Present).
Chained or tethered. Dogs that are tied up are dangerous. Since 2003, more than 450 Americans—mostly children—have been injured or killed by chained dogs. (PETA, Chained Dog Attack Summaries.)
Male. Male dogs are several times more dangerous than female dogs. Unneutered male dogs are the worst. (K.A. Houpt and M.B. Willis, The Genetics of the Dog, pp. 393-394.)
Newness. A new dog in the house is dangerous for the first 60 days, and a person who is new to a household where a dog resides is in danger of attack for the first 60 days. In 2012, roughly one-third of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the attack occurred, and 75% of deaths under these circumstances were children ages 8-years and younger. (Colleen Lynn, DogsBite.org Releases 2012 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics.)