Dog bite prevention weak

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2009:

ALBANY, CHICAGO, DENVER,
INDIANAPOLIS, NEW YORK CITY, WASHINGTON
D.C.–Dog Bite Prevention Week 2009 opened with
opponents of breed-specific legislation claiming
victories in Indianapolis and Highland Park, a
Chicago suburb, but closed with a 13-page
verdict against pit bull terrier advocates in
Loudoun County, Virginia.
The Indianapolis city/county council on
May 12, 2009 voted to table an At Risk Dogs bill
introduced by councillor Mike Speedy. The bill
will not be discussed again until after a new
community budget is approved, probably not
before October, Speedy told ANIMAL PEOPLE. But
Speedy vowed that the At Risk Dogs proposal will
be brought back at the first opportunity.
The At Risk Dogs proposal would have
required that pit bull terriers be sterilized,
in a community where more than 30% of the dogs
arriving at shelters are pit bulls. It
paralleled legislation in effect in San Francisco
since January 2006, credited with achieving a
23% reduction in shelter intakes of pit bulls,
and a 33% reduction in the number of pit bulls
killed by animal control in only two years,
after more than a decade of non-mandatory
programs made little difference. Similar
ordinances are in effect in smaller cities in at
least 10 states. Yet another took effect on
April 16, 2009 in Moses Lake, Washington.
The Highland Park city council on May 14,
2009 deferred until after a June 22 public
workshop any further action on a pit bull ban
proposed by mayor Michael Belsky after a newly
acquired pit bull belonging to a 17-year-old boy
inflicted severe facial bites on a 14-year-old
girl.


“The girl had been petting the
9-month-old male dog, which was on a leash, as
she sat with its new owner in his front yard,”
reported Lisa Black and Robert Channick of the
Chicago Tribune. “The owner, who wasn’t
identified,” Black and Channick added, “was
cited for violating city ordinances regarding a
biting dog as well as failure to have a dog
license or rabies vaccination, authorities said.”
The Belsky proposal parallels the pit
bull ban enforced in Denver since 1989, except
for 15 months when it was overturned by state
legislation that was itself overruled by Denver
District Court decisions in December 2004 and
April 2005. Colorado law prohibits
breed-specific ordinances, but the court found
that the law overreached state authority over
cities with “home rule” charters. Since the
Denver ordinance took effect, Denver has had
fewer dog attack fatalities and disfiguring
injuries than any other U.S. city of comparable
size, and has impounded and killed fewer pit
bulls, despite a surge of impoundments and
killing when enforcement resumed after the
15-month suspension.
Illinois, like Colorado, is among the
11 states that prohibit breed-specific
ordinances, but Illinois attorney general Lisa
Madigan on March 16, 2007 wrote to the general
counsel for the Illinois Department of
Agriculture that “a home rule unit,” such as
Highland Park, “is not prohibitedÅ from
regulating or banning the keeping of specific
breeds of animals.”
Highland Park state representative Karen
May told Black and Channick of the Chicago
Tribune that that proposed pit bull ban appears
to have public support. “The problem,” May
explained, “is that some rabid animal-rights
activists are just waiting to bring suit,” at
anticipated high cost to the city.
The Loudoun County case was in court for
two years before Loudoun County Circuit Court
Judge Burke F. McCahill on May 21, 2009 ruled
that the county pit bull policy does not violate
state or local laws. As in Colorado and
Illinois, Virginia law holds that a dog may not
be deemed dangerous solely based on breed,
according to a non-binding 2007 opinion by former
state attorney general Robert F. McDonnell.
After the Loudoun County shelter refused
to allow county resident Ron Litz to adopt a pit
bull, Litz and the Animal Rescue League of
Tidewater alleged in May 2007 that the shelter
had enforced a defacto breed ban by killing all
56 pit bulls it received in the preceding year.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors then
instituted a policy of transferring pit bulls who
pass temperament testing to nonprofit rescues for
possible adoption.
Loudoun County shelter manager Inga
Fricke testified at a two-day trial in May 2009
that 26 pit bulls have been transferred under the
new policy, while 122 have been euthanized,
only one of whom would have passed the adoption
standards set for other breeds. Best Friends
Animal Society training manager Sherry Woodard
asserted that this continues to demonstrate
“breed bias.”
Responded Judge Cahill, “Use of this
term as well as the statistics can be misleading
for a variety of reasons. If I were to rely on
the statistics alone, I would have to ignore the
evidence that there are differences in breed
characteristics.”
The foundation for the Cahill verdict,
however, was his finding that “The decision to
not allow adoptions was made by the Loudoun
County Board of Supervisors. Although couched
differently in the pleadings, this case is really
an attempt to attack a policy decision of a
legislative body.”
Best Friends, the Ameri-can SPCA, and
American Humane have led opposition to
breed-specific laws in recent years–and while
the Indianapolis, Highland Park, and Loudoin
County controversies smouldered, more than 50
years of dog attack history circled around in New
York City and Albany, New York to bite the
American SPCA and American Humane.
NYC housing ban
Because non-breed-specific measures had
for 15 years failed to reduce dangerous dog
incidents and dogfighting in public housing, the
New York City Housing Authority on April 29,
2009 defied the American SPCA and American Kennel
Club by reinstituting bans on keeping pit bulls,
Rottweilers, and Dobermans in public
housing–and reinforced the ban by extending it
to any dog weighing more than 25 pounds. The
limit had been 40 pounds. ASPCA spokespersons
pledged to fight the New York City Housing
Authority on behalf of pit bulls and other large
dogs, renewing a conflict dating to the June
1937 opening of Harlem River Houses.
The initial issue was human racial
discrimination. Harlem River Houses was only the
second federally funded housing project in the
U.S., the first in New York City, and though
not formally segregated, was specifically
designed to house families of African ancestry.
Harlem River Houses excluded pets. The no-pets
policy was later extended to all public housing
in New York City. The ASPCA for more than 40
years sought to overturn the ban on pets. The
scope of the New York City Housing Authority
meanwhile grew to include more than 7,000
buildings at 46 sites, including 178,000
apartments, home to 430,000 people. Dogs were
smuggled in, despite the rules.
Then-mayor Edward Koch proposed a
crackdown in August 1987, two days after police
shot a pit bull who menaced five children at a
Bronx housing project, then lunged at the first
police officer to reach the scene. Citing public
health department findings that pit bulls
constituted 1% of the dogs in New York City but
inflicted 4.5% of the bites requiring medical
treatment, Koch recommended legislation to
“prohibit the sale, purchase, possession,
renting, leasing or harboring of a pit bull
[anywhere] in the city,” reported Alan Finder of
The New York Times. Pit bulls already in New
York City were to be sterilized, muzzled in
public, and insured against liability.
Testifying against the Koch bill were
then-American SPCA president John Kullberg, AKC
president Ken Marden, and Phyllis Wright, the
first Humane Society of the U.S. vice president
for companion animals. The Koch bill was
nonetheless adopted in 1989, in amended form,
requiring that pit bulls be tattooed,
photographed, registered, and insured. No more
pit bulls were to be allowed in New York City
after October 1, 1989. In September 1989,
however, enforcement was halted by a preliminary
injunction issued by the New York State Supreme
Court on behalf of a coalition headed by the
American SPCA, the AKC, and the Canine Defense
Fund.
The New York City Board of Health
replaced the Koch ordinance in April 1991 with
non-breed-specific regulations applying only to
dogs who were declared dangerous after a hearing.
By then pit bulls accounted for 6% of the bites
requiring medical treatment.
The New York City Housing Authority
reportedly paid damages of $190,000 to a woman
who was injured by a pit bull in 1992, but
evicted only about a dozen tenants per year for
illegally keeping dogs until 1995, when it
evicted 50.
Taking over New York City animal control
duties from the American SPCA in 1994, the
Center for Animal Care & Control in the third
week of February 1996 impounded a dozen alleged
fighting pit bulls from city housing projects,
and warned that it needed stronger laws to
protect project residents.
None were passed. Within just a few days
in mid-1997, a elderly man died from a heart
attack while defending his schnauzer from an
escaped pit bull; a teenaged boy fell to his
death from a housing project roof while trying to
evade an attacking pit bull; a pit bull mauled a
12-year-old girl at a housing project; and a
teenaged boy killed a Brooklyn housing project
maintenance man for reporting his pit bull to
police. A hot line set up to respond to dog
incidents in the projects received more than
2,100 reports, mostly about either menacing or
neglected pit bulls.
Four percent of the dogs in New York City
were now pit bulls, accounting for a third of
all dog bites requiring medical attention, and
40% of the dogs impounded for biting, up
eightfold even as the number of pit bulls had
only quadrupled.
“Politicians who pander to pet owners
without considering human safety should be
rebuked,” editorialized the New York Times, but
in 1998 the New York Housing Authority responded
to a federal law allowing project residents to
keep pets by dropping most restrictions on what
pets could be kept.
Between the CACC warning in 1996 and the
end of 1999, the number of dog bites reported to
the New York City health department increased
from 6,000 to 11,000, including about 3,400 by
pit bulls.
But pit bulls themselves were the major
casualties of allowing them to proliferate–and
still are. From 1997 through 2008, the number
of impounded animals killed in New York City
shelters dropped from 43,036 to 16,489. Only the
number of pit bulls killed increased, to more
than half of all dogs received. The CACC has
adopted out more pit bulls than any other breed
since 2004, yet so many come in that pit bulls
reportedly still have a euthanasia rate of more
than 90%.

Child protection

Founded in 1867, the American SPCA is
usually considered the progenitor of the U.S.
humane movement. American SPCA founder Henry
Bergh and attorney Elbridge T. Gerry in 1877
famously invoked animal protection law to rescue
an abused child named Mary Ellen Wilson. Gerry
went on to found the New York Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The Mary
Ellen incident helped to inspire the formation of
the American Humane Association, also in 1877.
American Humane has since 1878 had parallel
animal and child protection divisions, making it
the oldest national child protection society in
the U.S. as well as the oldest national animal
charity. In 1915 American Humane initiated Be
Kind to Animals Week, the first annual event
organized nationally on behalf of animals, and
began honoring “Be Kind to Animals Kids.”
There are now many pro-animal national
events competing for media attention, including
the Pet Adopthons coordinated by the North Shore
Animal League America; Home 4 the Holidays,
coordinated by the Helen Woodward Animal Center;
and the Great American Meatout, coordinated by
the Farm Animal Reform Movement.
Yet Be Kind to Animals Week still garners
the most recognition, according to ANIMAL PEOPLE
searches of News-Library.com archives–19% more
mainstream media mentions since 1995 than Spay
Day USA, the runner-up, and more than twice as
many mentions as Dog Bite Prevention Week, in
third place, even though the latter enjoys the
patronage of the U.S. Postal Service.
“Be Kind to Animals Kid” winners’ stories
are usually told in about 5% to 15% of the
coverage, but 2009 grand prize winner in the
ages 6-12 division Annie Lee Vankleeck, age 6,
of Shokan, New York, appears to have been
named in barely 1%.
Lack of notice of Vankleeck’s award may
have saved American Humane from being asked hard
questions about it by media other than ANIMAL
PEOPLE.
Opened the American Humane announcement
of the award, distributed on May 4, 2009,
“‘Every chance she gets, Annie tries to help pit
bulls,'” said her mother, Sharon. Wanting to do
something to help animals, Annie and her family
went online to look at their local shelters’
websites. After finding out that Out of the
Pits, a nonprofit pit bull rescue in Albany,
needed gently used blankets and towels, Annie
made it her mission to fulfill that need.” The
American Humane announcement did not describe
Vankleeck working directly with the Out of the
Pits dogs. But it did establish that she has
contact with at least one pit bull: “She is
keenly aware that people can be prejudiced
against or afraid of pit bulls, so she will not
bring her pet pit bull, Ike, to show and tell
at school.”
Out of the Pits was begun in 1996 by
Cydney Cross, a former adoption counselor and
shelter manager for the Mohawk & Hudson River
Humane Society in Cohoes, New York. Cross
appears to have left the humane society in 2006.
Out of the Pits has received mostly
favorable media coverage, but a photo published
on October 29, 2008 by the Albany Times Union
depicted an Out of the Pits event of a sort that
many shelters would not encourage no matter what
kind of dogs were used.
Described the caption, “Olivia Moody,
8, gets a little love from Piggly Wiggly at a
kissing booth set up by Out of the Pits, a local
pit bull education and rescue organization in
front of Sloppy Kisses pet boutique on Broadway
in Saratoga Springs… Sisters Skyler and Paige
Rosewell, both 6, and Sean Rosewell, 3, visit
with Toby at the kissing booth, which was set up
to mark National Pit Bull Awareness Day.”
The event was also mentioned by the Saratogian, of Saratoga Springs.
Josephine Ramsay, 52, circa August 2008
adopted a three-month-old pit bull puppy from Out
of the Pits. Early on the evening of April 16,
2009 the pit bull, now about a year old,
inflicted facial injuries to Ramsay’s nephew,
Frankie Flora, age 5, of Wappingers Falls,
New York, that reportedly required more than
1,000 stitches to close. Ramsay herself was also
injured.
“The fact that one of their adoptions
ended in a tragic attack is heartbreaking,”
American Humane executive director Marie Belew
Wheatley told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “but has nothing to
do with our honoring this young lady [Vankleeck].
In fact, at the time the selection was made,
this accident had not yet happened. At the time
of announcing the award winners, we were unaware
of the terrible attack in New York.”
Nominations for the 2009 Be Kind to
Animals Kid contest closed on April 15, 2009,
barely 24 hours before Frankie Flora was
attacked, and two weeks before the award was
announced. That the dog was adopted from Out of
the Pits was mentioned by WABC television news on
April 18, and reported by the Poughkeepsie
Journal on April 22.
The American Humane periodical National
Humane Review in July/August 1961 devoted an
entire page to six recommendations from World
Health about “How to prevent 50% of dog bites”:

1) Don’t give a dog to a child under age
six. This might prevent 18% of bites.
2) Discourage playing ball with a dog,
riding a bicycle near an excited dog, and
running while playing with a dog if it excites
him. This might prevent 10% of bites.
3) Don’t wake a dog suddenly. Be
careful of the mother when picking up her puppies
and be careful with sick animals. Perhaps 3% of
bites avoided.
4) Teach children how to care for pets and not to abuse or tease dogs.
5) Don’t pet or startle a dog while
feeding him. Don’t take food away from a dog.
Don’t intervene in a dog fight. Perhaps 10% of
bites prevented.
6) Avoid holding your face next to a
dog’s so as to prevent serious bite wounds.

The page was designed to be used as a
poster in animal shelters. Alongside it was a
two-page article called Confessions of a Vicious
Dog, reprinted from a Pacific Telephone &
Telegraph Company handout that was distributed to
school children throughout the PacTel service
radius. It consisted of basic advice for not
getting bitten by ordinary dogs in ordinary
situations.
But already there were hints that some
dog breeds might be significantly more dangerous
than others.

Pits & Dobermans

Ten days after Germany surrendered to end
World War II in Europe, with fighting still
underway in the Pacific theatre, defense plant
worker Doretta Zinke, 39, took an evening
stroll near an Army transmitter station outside
Miami Springs, Florida. Zinke met nine pit bull
terriers kept by Joe Munn, 43, of Hialeah. Two
Army Air Force enlisted men ran to her aid, but
she had already suffered fatal injuries. She
died within 90 minutes.
“One of the few recorded cases of an
adult human being fatally attacked by dogs,”
according to Associated Press, the Zinke death
shared headline space as far west as Joplin,
Missouri with the battle to capture Okinawa.
Twenty-six pit bulls were impounded from
Munn. Fifteen adult dogs were shot; 11 puppies
were gassed. Munn “said he bred the dogs to sell
and denied they had been used for pit fighting,”
reported Associated Press.
“The humane society [apparently the
Humane Society of Greater Miami] received
hundreds of telephone calls from people asking
that the society intervene in the killing of the
animals,” Associated Press continued. “Humane
officials said they were carrying out the order
of authorities who with disinterested
veterinarians deemed the dogs of the ‘most
vicious type.’ Prior to the attack on Mrs.
Zinke, they had been accused of attacking other
people within the past week.”
Doretta Zinke was among first victims on
record of a dog attack following a now familiar
pattern, in which dogs–usually pit bulls–leave
their caretaker’s property and then kill or
disfigure a complete stranger, who was minding
her own business in a place where she should have
been safe. The Zinke case was also among the
first on record in which animal advocates
aggressively defended dogs who were impounded in
such a situation, at a time when whole litters
of puppies and kittens were routinely killed for
population control, with scarcely a hint of
protest or suggestion that anything else could be
done.
The standard procedures of surgically
sterilizing dogs and cats had been approved by
the American Veterinary Medical Association in
1923, but were still a dozen years from use by
Friends of Animals, the first U.S. charity to
facilitate dog and cat sterilization, and were
still 28 years from acceptance by the American
Humane Association, the only national animal
advocacy group in the U.S. from 1877 until the
Humane Society of the U.S. formed in 1954.
Fatal dog attacks, until the last
quarter of the 20th century, almost always
involved infants or toddlers, and/or rabid dogs.
The last adult killed in a dog-related incident
in the U.S. before Zinke may have been James
Farrell, 55, town marshal for Ada, Ohio.
Farrell in 1937 was found dead in the road after
trying to haul two dogs to the pound on his
motorcycle.
Until the late 20th century, fatal dog
attacks on infants and toddlers were also
exceedingly rare by current standards. In 1976,
for example, Joanne Bashold, 24, of New York
City, left her four-day-old baby girl alone with
a German shepherd who had not been fed for days.
Bashold was later acquitted of negligent
homicide. The most recent similar incident in
New York City had apparently occurred on February
11, 1877, when a Spitz fatally injured the
newborn daughter of a woman named Kate Hartman.
The Spitz, in the 1870s, was widely
believed to have an unusual susceptibility to
rabies. Within less than 10 years of formation,
the American SPCA became involved in opposition
to breed-specific animal control policies
targeting the Spitz. ASPCA founder Henry Bergh
recognized, correctly, that the Spitz was
disproportionately involved in transmitting
rabies to humans because–at a time when dogs of
any discernible lineage were rare–it was popular
among German immigrants who lived in crowded
tenements where a mad dog could quickly bite and
infect many people.
Later, when vaccination brought rabies
under control, while other dog breeds gained
popularity, the purported threat of the Spitz
faded from memory.
But neither the Spitz, nor the Doberman,
nor any other breed before the late 20th century
proliferation of pit bull terriers and
Rottweilers ever killed and disfigured humans at
anywhere even remotely close to the numbers who
have been killed and maimed in the past 27 years
by pit bulls and Rottweilers. Pit bulls and
their closest mixes, exclusive of dogs raised to
fight, have at this writing killed 153 Americans
and Canadians and disfigured 785 since 1982.
Rottweilers have killed 66 and disfigured 237.
All other dogs combined–95% of the total dog
population–have killed 106 and disfigured 355.
DogsBite.org founder Colleen Lynn,
studying 88 fatal dog attacks occurring in the
U.S. in 2006-2008 found that pit bulls killed 82%
of the adult victims, and committed 81% of the
fatal attacks in which dogs left their
caretaker’s premises–as in the Zinke case.
Joe Munn, owner of the pit bulls who
killed Zinke, was convicted of man-slaughter at
a time when criminally charging anyone for a dog
attack was even more unheard of than dog attacks
themselves. Munn served one year of a five-year
prison sentence, but apparently did not learn
his lesson. Harry Smalley, 73, in April 1955
walked his leashed dog past Munn’s Miami dry
cleaning shop. Two of Munn’s pit bulls rushed
out the door to attack the leashed dog, mauling
Smalley when he intervened.
The Smalley attack did not attract much
note, but two months to the day later,
newspapers all over the U.S. reported the
unwitnessed fatal mauling of Winifred W.L. Bacon,
64, by her two Dober-mans at Island Beach State
Park, near Toms River, New Jersey. Five years
later a Doberman killed his mistress, Frances
Tetreault, 50, of Northvale, New Jersey.
The second fatality inflicted by a single
breed of dog in one region lastingly established
the bad reputation of Dobermans. Dobermans have
since 1982 killed just four people, disfiguring
seven. Their record in 1955-1960 was no worse,
but any dog attack fatalities were then so rare
as to attract coverage equivalent to a
sensational murder.

Mail carriers

Preventing dog attacks has been
recognized as a duty of government throughout
recorded history. Before 1955, however, this
was mostly in the contexts of protecting
livestock and preventing rabies.
People whose dogs chased or injured
either humans or livestock were warned to keep
the dogs muzzled, tied, or confined. If the
offense was repeated, the dog would be impounded
and killed. Severe harm to either humans or
livestock occurred seldom enough that the
doctrine of “one free bite” was already
established as far back as written dog laws have
been discovered. Cases of a dog killing or
maiming someone were so rare that the legal focus
was on preventing chronic problems, rather than
catastrophic single events.
Until vaccinating pet dogs against rabies
became mandatory throughout the U.S. in the
1950s, rabies control consisted of sporadic
roundups and massacres of free-roaming dogs,
usually only after outbreaks occurred–as is
still done in parts of China, India, Indonesia,
and other nations where rabies vaccination has
yet to become universal.
Except during rabies outbreaks, dogs and
dog bites appear to have been little feared. Yet
if most of what is generally believed to lead to
dog bites today had led to bites 50 years ago and
earlier, the incidence of bites should have been
exponentially higher than now. Most Americans,
like most other people, lived in constant
proximity to free-roaming dogs, many of them
unfamiliar. Of the 32 million dogs in the U.S.
circa 1955, according to pioneering dog and
cat population ecologist John Marbanks, about
30% were street dogs, who lived much as many
dogs still do in the developing world.
Under 1% of all dogs were sterilized, as
of 1960, when sterilization frequency first was
studied. In consequence, about 90% of the dogs
in the U.S. were mongrels, and about six million
surplus puppies per year were among the eight
million dogs per year killed by animal shelters.
By far the most bites were inflicted by bitches
defending litters. Of the dogs who had homes,
half or more were allowed to wander. Tethering,
now known to make dogs more territorial and
dangerous, was the chief means of confinement.
The American Humane Association gave Walt
Disney a lifetime achievement award in 1956,
particularly lauding his 1955 animated feature
Lady & The Tramp for promoting the idea of
keeping pet dogs at home.
Bite prevention as we know it today was
rarely discussed. The National Humane Review did
not even mention dog bites in 1955. The first
notice of dog bites after the June 1955 death of
Winifred Bacon came in the July/August 1956
edition. There the AHA saluted U.S. Postmaster
Arthur E. Summer-field for taking notice that
6,000 mail carriers were bitten on the job in
1955.
Summerfield in June 1956 convened a
conference in Washington D.C. to introduce the
notion of preventing dog bites. The chief
executives of the AHA, American SPCA, American
Kennel Club, and Popular Dogs magazine were
invited to share their ideas.
“Eugene J. Lyons, postal personnel
chief, reported on field tests the department is
conducting to find a way of discouraging dogs
from attacking mailmen,” said United Press.
“The conference developed two major
thoughts,” summarized the National Humane
Review. “One, educate the owners to their
responsibilities and encourage them to have more
obedient dogs and, two, to give safety training
to letter carriers on how to behave with strange
dogs.”
Only 3,000 letter carriers are bitten by
dogs each year now, half as many as in 1955.
But the 130,000 letter carriers working in 1955
walked an average of eight miles per day,
encountering about 35 free-roaming dogs per day.
The 214,084 letter carriers working in 2008
walked an average of five miles per day,
encountering fewer than six dogs per day–and
most of those are leashed. Though letter
carriers today are only half as likely to be
bitten, they are about six times more likely to
be bitten by the dogs they meet.
After the Summerfield conference the
National Humane Review did not again mention dog
bites until it published the six World Health
recommendations for avoiding them in July/August
1961.
Wrote the editors in introduction,
“Man’s best friend was reportedly responsible
last year for biting some 611,000 persons in the
United States. It was also reported that man’s
best friend cost Americans some $5,000,000 in
medical bills during the year.” The cost of dog
bites in 1960 would equal about $100 million
today. As of 2007, 4.7 million Americans were
bitten by dogs. The cost of treating the 800,000
who received hospital care came to $268 million,
not including plastic surgery for victims like
Frankie Flora.
Not clear from the National Humane Review
report is whether the 611,000 dog bites reported
in 1960 were all bites, or just bites receiving
hospital treatment. If the latter, adjusting
for inflation since 1960, the average cost of a
bite receiving hospital treatment has more than
doubled, from the equivalent of $164 in 2009
dollars to $336.
Rabies was still common enough in the
U.S. in 1960 that bite treatment often included a
series of 14 post-exposure vaccinations,
painfully injected into the abdomen. The U.S. no
longer has canine rabies. The higher cost of
first aid today appears to be associated mostly
with bigger and deeper bites.
As to the numbers, the journal Public
Health in 1973 published findings by Alan M.
Beck, Honey Loring, and Randall Lockwood that
“The rate of dog bites reported in St. Louis from
1963 to 1973 almost doubled,” but were
“comparable to those for other urban areas.”
Beck, Loring, and Lockwood believed that that
1960 figure included all bites. They estimated
that the U.S. bite total had risen to about one
million per year.
The rate of increase in dog bites they
found projects to about twice the present
estimated bite total. This suggests that 50% of
dog bites are now prevented, as World Health
projected was possible in 1963–but the other 50%
reflect exponentially more dangerous dogs.

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