Two years ago, Dr. Michael Golinko, a nationally renowned plastic surgeon specializing in pediatric dog bite surgeries, published one of the most thorough and comprehensive studies ever done on dog attacks against children. The study compiled statistics on 1,616 dog bite injuries over the course of four years. It concluded that infants were substantially more likely to be the victim of an attack by the family dog, and that pit bull dog bites were implicated in approximately half of all surgeries. The breed is also more than 2.5 times more likely than other breeds to bite a child repeatedly and in multiple locations around the body.
Many dog advocates take a firm position that pit bulls are no more inherently violent than other breeds. It’s true that a dog’s interactions with humans, particularly during its early development, can heavily influence its later temperament. However, Dr. Golinko’s very large study makes it clear that pit bulls are disproportionately responsible for dog attacks against children, both in terms of frequency and severity. This raises an important question as to how we should approach the liability of pit bull owners when their dogs attack innocent victims, especially children.
Some states have approached this problem by banning pit bull breeds entirely. California is not one of those states, however, it does allow individual municipalities to enact “breed bans” against pit bulls. One of the ongoing issues with breed bans is that “pit bull” is not truly a singular breed but rather many different breeds which are lumped together based on a certain look.
Dog bite attorneys in Los Angeles see the worst types of bites every day, and we already know that there is strong anecdotal evidence that pit bulls deserve their bad rap, at least in part. This does not mean that all pit bulls are dangerous dogs; however, it does mean that parents should be cautious with their children around all breeds, and especially around pit bulls. As Dr. Golinko’s study shows, the danger inherent in all interactions between children and dogs is especially heightened when a pit bull is involved.
If your child has been the victim of a dog bite attack, call the Los Angeles dog bite attorneys at Steinberg Injury Lawyers at 1-800-350-8888. We have decades of experience helping families recover from this very traumatic situation.