A Dose of Reality
Rottweiler, not the pit bull.

2.) Although there are no accurate or even near accurate census records
for dogs in the U.S., in some populations pit bulls are estimated to
comprise some 30-40% of the dog population, making it a very popular
breed. Considering that there were an estimated 53,000,000 dogs in the
U.S., and assuming that pit bulls make up 10% of that population, there
would be approximately 5.3 million pit bulls in our society. In 2000, 13 pit
bulls were involved in 8 fatal attacks. That is roughly ONE dog out of
204,000 - or .000385 percent of the pit bull population.

3.) Over the 37-year period from 1965-2001, pit bulls have been blamed
for an average of 2.48 human fatalities per year.

4.) About 40 people (children) per year die by drowning in 5-gallon water
pails. A person, during their lifetime, is 16 times more likely to drown in a
5-gallon water pail than to be killed by a pit bull.

5.) Approximately 50 children in the US are killed every year by their cribs
- 25 times the number of children and adults killed by pit bulls.

6.) Approximately 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts.
Therefore, you are more than 60 TIMES MORE LIKELY to be killed by a
PALM TREE than a pit bull.

7.) Each year, 350 people drown in their bathtubs. You are 151 times
more likely to be killed by your bathtub than you are by a pit bull.

8.) It is estimated that about 500 deaths per year are caused by aspirin.
You are more than 200 times more likely to die from taking aspirin than
from a pit bull attack.

9.) Every year, more than 2,000 children in the U.S. are killed by their
parents or guardians either through abuse or neglect. A child is more
than 800 times more likely to be killed by their adult caretaker than by a
pit bull.

10.) It is estimated that 5,000,000 dogs per year are killed in shelters.
Since in many places pit bulls make up 30-50% of the shelter population,
and are less likely to be considered for placement than any other breed,
guessing that 25% of those dogs killed is a reasonable estimate.
Therefore, it can be assumed that perhaps 1.25 million pit bulls are killed
per year.

Therefore - it is at least a HALF MILLION TIMES MORE LIKELY that a pit
bull will be killed by a HUMAN than the other way around.

11.) For every pit bull who kills, there are hundreds of thousands that


In the year 2000, pit bulls were involved in 8 fatalities.

From the National Safety Council: Numbers of Deaths Due to Injury,
United States in 2000:

  • Bitten or struck by dog (all breeds), 26
  • Bitten or struck by other mammals, 65
  • Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other arthropods, 9
  • Bitten or crushed by other reptiles, 31
  • Drowning and submersion while in or falling into bath-tub, 341
  • Drowning and submersion while in or falling into swimming-pool,
  • Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, 327
  • Ignition or melting of nightwear, 9
  • Contact with hot tap-water, 55
  • Contact with venomous snakes and lizards, 12
  • Contact with venomous spiders, 5
  • Contact with hornets, wasps and bees, 54
  • Contact with other and unspecified venomous animal or plant, 9
  • Nonopioid analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics, 176
  • Alcohol, 302
  • Legal intervention involving firearm discharge, 270
  • Legal execution, 80

Article resources:

Most of the dog bite fatality info from CDC/HSUS studies; stats from the
book “Fatal Dog Attacks” by Karen Delise.

Additional statistics from both the CDC and the National Safety Council.

The percentage of overall pit bull populations in shelters was drawn from
various shelter/rescue statistical data.

One note on pit bull population estimates that are floating around out
there – I believe the pit bull population numbers are grossly
underestimated by AKC-leaning “experts” (Alan Beck comes to mind, for
one). At the time I wrote that piece, I did some searching on Petfinder for
all the pit bull “varieties” (APBT, AmStaff, Staffordshire whatevers, bull
terriers) and I’m darned if I can remember the results, but it was
something quite stunning – especially considering that many shelters
won’t even place them up for adoption. In my opinion, that’s a much more
accurate way of estimating the pit bull population than figuring the
percentage of AKC registered AmStaffs as compared to all AKC
registrations, which is how I know Alan Beck does his figuring, as well as
some other. There is a large population of urban dogs which remain
invisible to the middle- and upper-class fanciers, and this is where I
believe the larger segment of the pit bull population remains.