Nonprofit Releases 2019 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics - Attacks and Adult Victims Rise and Trends from the 15-Year Data Set
In 2019, canines killed 48 Americans, the highest annual death count on record. Several other new records were also set in 2019: victims in the 30-49 age group outnumbered the 0-4 age group for the first time, multi-dog attacks comprised 63% of deaths and off-property attacks soared 75% above the 14-year average.
Of the 48 deaths inflicted by dogs, pit bulls contributed to 69% (33). Pit bulls make up about 8% of the total U.S. dog population.* Mixed-breeds had the second highest death rate, involved in 6 deaths. Pit bulls participated in 50% of the mixed-breed attacks. Rottweilers followed, inflicting 4 deaths. Three dog breeds were involved in 2 deaths each. Eight dog breeds were involved in 1 death each. Overall, 14 different dog breeds contributed to 48 human deaths.
In 2019, for the first time on record, adult victims in the 30-49 age group (13) outnumbered victims in the 0-4 age group (12), which historically has the highest number of dog bite-related fatalities. Pit bulls inflicted 85% (11) of these adult deaths. 62% (8) of the dogs that killed in the 30-49 age group had a previous bite history. 62% of attacks involved multiple dogs, and 62% occurred off the owner's property. 31% (4) of these attacks involved the dog killing its female owner.
Last year, 42% (20) of fatal dog maulings occurred off the dog owner's property, a 75% rise from the 14-year average of 24%. Pit bulls were involved in 75% (15) of these attacks and 95% (19) of attacks off the owner's property involved multiple dogs. Overall, 63% (30) of fatal maulings involved multiple dogs in 2019. 70% (21) of these attacks involved 2 or 3 dogs, 30% (9) involved a pack of 4 or more dogs. 63% (19) of multi-dog attacks involved 1 or more pit bulls as well.
California led all states in lethal dog attacks in 2019 with 9 deaths. Pit bulls inflicted 89% (8) of these deaths. Texas followed with 7 deaths and Kentucky with 4 deaths. Poor safety or intake policies at taxpayer-funded shelters in Florida, Texas and California contributed to 4 dog bite deaths. Five cities or counties each sustained 2 dog bite deaths: Bristol County, Massachusetts; Irving, Texas; Houston, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky and Stanislaus County, California.
2019 Dog Bite Fatality Statistics & 15 Year Highlights
This year's release includes statistics from the 15-year data set (2005 to 2019). During this period, canines killed 521 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 66% (346) of these deaths. Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers (51) contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths. When mastiff-type guard dogs and war dogs are added -- the types used to create "baiting" bull breeds and fighting breeds -- this small group of dog breeds accounts for 84% (438) of all dog bite-related deaths.
Discussion Notes examine 2019 trends and trends over 15 years (2005-2019) divided into three 5-year periods. In the last 5 years (2015-2019), victims ≥ 10 years old, accounted for 64% of all dog bite fatality victims, a 31% increase since 2005-2009. Also, a review of multi-dog attacks shows that between the periods of 2005-2009 and 2015-2019 multi-dog attacks involving 3 or more dogs increased from 19% to 29%, a 53% rise. Additional trends are examined in the report.
Discussion Notes - 2019 U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Statistics
Statistical PDF documents are available for download at the website:
15 Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart by Breed (2005 to 2019)
15 Year U.S. Dog Bite Fatality Chart by Age Groups (2005 to 2019)
Dog Bite Deaths and Death Rates Over 4 Periods (1989 to 2019)
*Breed population numbers are tabulated annually by Animals 24-7. The last 3-year average of the total pit bull population is 8% (8.0% in 2017, 8.0% in 2018 and 7.9% in 2019). Breed survey 2019: more puppies, yet fewer homes for pit bulls, by Merritt Clifton, Animals 24-7, July 9, 2019 (animals24-7.org).