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					                 Pit Bull Attack Statistics

Three members of a McDowell County, West Virginia family were injured on Sunday, October 9,
2011 in a pit bull attack. The family pet was chained in the backyard of their Welch, WV home
when it broke loose and attacked a three year old girl. Her grandfather and mother rushed to
help the child and were viciously attacked. The three year old and grandfather suffered serious
injuries and the pit bull was put down.

In 2009, a three-day old baby boy in Hardy County, WV was viciously attacked and killed by the
family’s pet pit bull. The pit bull refused to release the newborn infant during the struggle to
save the baby.

Devastating events such as these ought to cause West Virginians to reconsider the wisdom in
choosing dogs such as the pit bull as family pets. Typically, 77% of dog injuries are caused by
dogs familiar to the victim, and most occur close to, or in, the owner’s home. Selective breeding
practices that emphasize aggression and tenacity in such breeds work to increase these dogs’
negative impact on communities.

Pit Bulls only account for two percent of the dog population, but account for one-third of dog
bite fatalities. Because of pit bulls’ record of mauling, serious injuries, and deaths, many
countries worldwide ban or regulate ownership of this breed. Many US cities and towns also
have passed legislation restricting ownership and increasing penalties on owners whose dogs are
responsible for attacks.

Every forty seconds, someone in the United States seeks attention for a dog bite, approximately
800,000 per year. Most of the victims are children, and most (77%) are bitten on the face. In
addition to the trauma of having been attacked by a vicious dog, almost $165 million annually is
spent treating dog bites. In 2010, the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was
$18,200, approximately 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospital stay.

West Virginia has a strict liability dog bite statute for dogs running at large, but a one-bite rule
under other circumstances.

Dog bites can inflict cuts, lacerations, abrasions, crushing wounds, punctures, fractured bones,
infection, and disfiguring scars, especially on the face. Dog owners have a legal responsibility to
control their animals. In recent years, several owners of these dogs have been criminally
prosecuted in homicide cases. Sadly, many victims of traumatic dog bites go uncompensated
and personally incur the full cost of the injury resulting from a dog owner’s negligence.

For information about traumatic dog bites, go to

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