California is the most populous state in the nation for humans and dogs alike. The huge majority of canine friends are safe around people, and bad experiences between people and dogs are very rare. This is partially why dogs are the most popular pet here.
A couple of months ago, we wrote a post about the number of fatal dog bite incidents that occurred in the United States in 2016. In that post, we remarked about the incredible prevalence of pit bulls in these fatalities, as 71 percent of the dog bite fatalities that happened in 2016 involved pit bulls. Well, the 2017 numbers are in, and they aren't any better.
Many television viewers in the Bay Area will recognize Veronica De La Cruz, a staple on the KPIX local news hour and "Bay Area Nightbeat." She has a 4-year-old son, and recently when they were visiting a family friend, De La Cruz's son was mauled by the friend's dog. The dog's breed is a rarer one, called a Catahoula cur. These dogs routinely weigh in around 40 to 90 pounds, and they are usually around two feet tall. In other words, these are bigger, more powerful dogs.
31 people were killed in the United States in 2016 due to a dog attack. What is amazing about that statistic is that of those fatal dog attacks, 22 of them occurred with a pit bull. That means 71 percent of the fatal dog bites in the country were done by pit bulls, even though this breed only makes up 6 percent of the population.
A brutal dog attack outside the state of California left a woman with multiple broken bones, a bevy of cuts, bruises, and bite marks all across her body, and a neighborhood in fear. The incident occurred in New Jersey, after a woman went over to her neighbor's home and knocked on the door. She was simply trying to talk to the neighbor to warn him and his family about rat poison that had been discovered in the neighborhood.
It is typical when you hear about a dog bite case or a dog attack that the breed involved is a pit bull. This is for two reasons. The first is that media coverage is pre-disposed, to a certain degree, to cover these cases. But the other reason is that pit bulls are strong animals that, when involved in an attack, are more likely to cause serious damage or injuries to a person or other animal due to the incredible power of their jaws.
While the following story didn't happen in California, the threat posed by dogs knows no state borders. They can happen anywhere.
According to a survey performed by the American Pet Products Association found that there are roughly 90 million dogs owned in the United States. When you combine that number with a figure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, it is easy to see the potential problems that can occur as a result of dogs and dog owners. The highest rate for dog bites is for kids aged 5-9.
The source article for our post this week may not come from the Bay Area, but the dangerous circumstances involved apply to anyone, anywhere in the United States.
Owning a dog is a tremendous responsibility, and a privilege when done correctly. A well-trained and obedient dog will reward you with love and affection, and you -- as the dog owner -- can live with the satisfaction that the training and regimen you used successfully raised "a good boy."