To Whom It May Concern:
Attached, as requested, please find a copy of the report titled “ Breeds of dogs involved
in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998” and published in the
September 15, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
In your review of this report, please be cognizant of the following:
This study was NOT conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association,
but by individual investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the Humane Society of the United States, and the American
Veterinary Medical Association. The report underwent the standard review
process required for publication of scientific reports published in the Journal of the
In contrast to what has been reported in the news media, the data contained
within this report CANNOT be used to infer any breed-specific risk for dog
bite fatalities (e.g., neither pit bull-type dogs nor Rottweilers can be said to be
more “dangerous” than any other breed based on the contents of this report). To
obtain such risk information it would be necessary to know the numbers of each
breed currently residing in the United States. Such information is not available.
Data in this report indicate that the number of dogs of a given breed associated
with fatal human attacks varies over time, further suggesting that such data should
not be used to support the inherent “dangerousness” of any particular breed.
More than 25 breeds have been involved in fatal human attacks over the 20-year
period summarized in this report.
Fatal attacks represent a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans and,
therefore, should not be the primary factor driving public policy concerning
Strategies that can be used in an effort to prevent dog bites include enforcement
of generic, non-breed-specific dangerous dog laws, with an emphasis on
chronically irresponsible owners; enforcement of animal control ordinances such
as leash laws; prohibition of dog fighting; encouraging n