By Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips, author of Dog Bite Law (

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The number of pit bulls

There are approximately 4.5 million pit bulls in the United States. (American Pet Products Association, Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics; Merritt Clifton, 2018 Dog Breed Survey.)

Pit bulls are disliked by most Americans

Americans believe that pit bulls are at least somewhat dangerous and that a family with small children should not harbor a pit bull. (, Poll Results: Pit Bulls, July 24, 2014.)

More than 50% of all pit bulls in the USA are up for sale or adoption. (Merritt Clifton, 2019 Dog Breed Survey.) 

Most of the pit bulls offered for sale or adoption have been given up by their former owners. (Merritt Clifton, "Rescued" pit bulls now outnumber pit puppies.)

Between 19% and 32% of all dogs taken to shelters are pit bulls. (Emily Weiss, Rising from the Pitt [19%]; Merritt Clifton, "Rescued" pit bulls now outnumber pit puppies [32%].)

Pit bulls remain in shelters approximately three times as long as other breeds. (Lisa M. Gunter, Rebecca T. Barber, Clive D. L. Wynne, What’s in a Name? Effect of Breed Perceptions & Labeling on Attractiveness, Adoptions & Length of Stay for Pit-Bull-Type Dogs,

Forty percent of pit bulls in shelters are euthanized every year. (Emily Weiss, Rising from the Pitt, ASPCAPro,

Pit bulls bite more humans than other breeds

From February 2013 to present, Animal control and health departments in 19 U.S. states report that pit bulls are leading all breeds in biting incidents. The studies are summarized and linked at, Pit Bulls Lead "Bite" Counts Across U.S. Cities and Counties

There are 3.6 million pit bulls in the USA, including purebreds and mixes, making them about 6.6% of the canine population. (Merritt Clifton, Most Popular Breed in US Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog, at In the 10 years from 2009 to 2018, pit bulls killed or maimed 3,569 people in the USA and Canada. (Merritt Clifton, Dog Attack Deaths & Maimings, U.S. & Canada, 1982-2018 Log.) They killed over 80% of all Americans who are killed by dogs. (Colleen Lynn, 2015 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities, at In the 13-year period from 2005 to 2017, pit bulls killed 283 Americans. (Colleen Lynn, 12-Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart and Colleen Lynn, 2017 U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities.) In 2018, pit bulls killed 25 of the 34 Americans who died because of a dog attack. Eighteen of the pit bull victims were the pit bull's owner, a family member of the pit bull's owner, or a baby (not a member of the family) that the pit bull owner was watching. It can be safely assumed that pit bulls usually bite the same type of person they usually kill, namely their owners and the owner's family. 

Pit bull bites are more deadly than those of other breeds

Studies by health care providers establish that pit bull attacks are associated with higher median Injury Severity Scale scores, a higher number of hospital admissions, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death. (Bini, John K. MD; Cohn, Stephen M. MD; Acosta, Shirley M. RN, BSN; McFarland, Marilyn J. RN, MS; Muir, Mark T. MD; Michalek, Joel E. PhD, Mortality, Mauling, and Maiming by Vicious Dogs, Annals of Surgery: April 2011, vol. 253, iss. 4, pp. 791–797, cited at,_Mauling,_and_Maiming_by_Vicious_Dogs.23.aspx.) 

The most recent study of dog bites, authored entirely by physicians, concludes that injuries from pit bulls are both more frequent and more severe. (Essig Jr., Garth F., et al., Dog Bite Injuries to the Face: Is There Risk with Breed Ownership? A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis, Int. J. of Ped. Otorhinolaryngology 117 (2019) 192-188; accessed 3/25/2019 at

Pit bull owners are more likely to be irresponsible

In nearly all of the cases in which Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips has been consulted, where a pit bull killed a person, the pit bull owners had no insurance and therefore the victim's family received no justice in the form of compensation.

Published, peer-reviewed studies in authoritative journals of psychology and forensic science establish that pit bulls owners as a whole -- statistically -- are more likely to be socially deviant, engage in crimes involving children, domestic violence, alchohol abuse, and violent crimes against other persons. (Jaclyn E. Barnes, Barbara W. Boat, Frank W. Putnam, Harold F. Dates, and Andrew R. Mahlman, Ownership of High-Risk ("Vicious") Dogs As a Marker for Deviant Behaviors, J. Interpersonal Violence, Volume 21 Number 12, December 2006 1616-1634, abstract at; Laurie Ragatz M.A., William Fremouw Ph.D., Tracy Thomas M.A., Katrina McCoy B.S., Vicious Dogs: The Antisocial Behaviors and Psychological Characteristics of Owners, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Volume 54, Issue 3, pages 699–703, May 2009, abstract at; Allison M. Schenk, B.A.; Laurie L. Ragatz, M.S.; and William J. Fremouw, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., Vicious Dogs Part 2: Criminal Thinking, Callousness, and Personality Styles of Their Owners, J Forensic Sci, January 2012, Vol. 57, No. 1, doi: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01961.x, available online at:

One example is Laquandra Kinchen Ligons, who in 2014 stabbed to death a neighbor who poked Ligons' pit bull with a metal rod to protect the victim's cats. (Pablo Lopez for The Fresno Bee, Fresno woman sentenced to 12 years for killing woman in dispute over pets, Another example is Matthew Thomas Oropeza, who killed a man because the latter asked Oropeza to put a leash on his pit bull. (See the article in the Inquirer at

Pit bulls kill their owners, family members and babies more than half the time

Of the 31 Americans killed by dogs in 2016, 23 were killed by pitbulls and their mixes, and 12 of those 23 victims were either the owner of the pitbull (4) or a member of the pitbull owner's family (8). (See details given by Colleen Lynn, 

In 2017, of the 39 Americans killed by dogs, 29 were killed by pitbulls and their mixes, and 18 of those 29 victims were either the owner of the pitbull or a family member (including a relative). (See Colleen Lynn,

In 2018, 34 Americans were killed by dogs, 25 of the killer dogs were pit bulls, and 16 of the 25 pit bulls killed their owner or the owner's family member; the victims of two other fatal pit bull attacks were babies not a member of the pit bull owner's family that the pit bull owners were watching. (Phillips, Kenneth, Pit Bull Killings - 2018,

Pit bulls also have been known to eat their owners. In 2019, when the police went in search for Freddie Mack (57, Johnson County), they could not find him, but they found bits of his bones and clothes in the excrement of his 15 pit bulls. (Sheriff: Missing North Texas man was eaten by his own dogs,, July 10, 2019,

Females are the most frequent victims in fatal pit bull attacks

In 2018, 25 Americans were killed by pit bulls, and 19 of them were female adults or female children. (Phillips, Kenneth, Pit Bull Killings - 2018,

Pit bulls kill more children than any other breed of dog

In 2017, dogs killed 15 children out of the 39 total human fatalities. Pit bulls kllled 8 of the 15 youths. (See Colleen Lynn,

In 2018, dogs again killed 15 children, and pit bulls killed at least 9 of those 15 ("at least" because the authorities have concealed the breed of one of the dogs that killed a child.) (See Colleen Lynn, 2018 Dog Bite Fatalities and Phillips, Kenneth, Pit Bull Killings - 2018, 

Pit bulls are the No. 1 canine killers of other people's pets and animals

In 2017, pit bulls killed 13,000 dogs, 5,000 cats and 20,000 horses and other farm animals. (See Merritt Clifton, 'Pit Bull Roulette' killed 38,000 other animals in 2017.) Having destroyed more than 90% of other animals killed by dogs, the breed became the number one killer of other people's pets, horses and farm animals. 

Pit bulls engage in home invasions more often than any other dog

Approximately once per month during 2015, 2016 and 2017, a pit bull has entered the home of a person not its owner for the purpose of killing or injuring people or pets. In addition to homes, the invaded premises have included apartments, schools and even a police station. There were 16 such incidents in 2015, 17 in 2016, and 11 in 2017, with the first recorded one in 1912. (See Safety Before Pit Bulldogs, Extreme Attacks: List of Invasion Attacks by Pit Bulls, at 

Pit bull attacks (deaths and disfigurements) are on the rise

Fatal and disfiguring attacks by pit bulls have risen 830% since 2007. (Merritt Clifton, Record 33 fatal pit bull attacks & 459 disfigurements in 2015, at

The pit bull attack cover-up is on the rise

The authorities either unwittingly or purposely are engaging in a cover-up pertaining to pit bull violence. In the three decades from 1982 t0 2013, only 45 canine homicides or disfigurements were by dogs of an unidentified breed, but in 2014 there were 36 and in 2015 there were 78. (Merritt Clifton, Record 33 fatal pit bull attacks & 459 disfigurements in 2015, at 

Breeding pit bulls adds to the pit bull problem

Over 40% of the USA's pit bulls are homeless, according to the latest survey (Merritt Clifton, 2018 Dog Breed Survey: At Least 41% of U.S. Pit Bull Population Are Seeking Homes, at The percent of homeless pit bulls is probably over 50% because rescues and shelters falsely advertise two out of ten pit bulls as being some other breed. This means half or nearly half of the nation's pit bulls are seeking homes. Breeding pit bulls potentially adds to that number.

"Pit bull" is a term that describes all descendents of the Old English Bulldog

The Old English Bulldog was adapted into a fighting dog referred to as the "Bull and Terrier," which then became the Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, English Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, etc. All such varieties are referred to as "pit bulls" or "pit bulls and their mixes." (See, i.e., Staffordshire Bull Terrier from The Book of the Dog

Dogs that attack other dogs are dangerous to people

A study in Orange County, Florida, established that in a 12-month period 7% of all bites to humans occurred when two dogs met. (WKMG 6 News, Web Extra: Animal Bite Statistics," June 2, 2015, cited at