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Dog Bite Related Fatalities in Canada

 

Between 1983 and the end of 2004, there have been 24 attacks in which 25 people were killed by dogs in this country.

 

23 of the 25 victims were children ELEVEN years old or younger.  Of those 23, 15 were FIVE years old or younger.

 

61 dogs from 12 different breeds were involved in the 24 attacks.

 

Of those 12 different breeds, 3 MIGHT be able to be classified as the same basic type of dog and together were involved in 11 of the 25 deaths (or 44%). The most deaths involving any other breed was 4 out of the 25 (16%).

 

The one death by two "pit bull" type dogs also happens to be the only one that didn't involve a child and the only one that, by any human definition of the word, could be considered "provoked", since the victim was an intoxicated adult male in the process of assaulting the dogs.

 

18 of the 24 incidents occurred on the property of the victim, a relative, or a neighbour.

 

From the statistics listed below, we can conclude the following:

 

  • Many breeds or types of dogs have been involved in killing Canadians. One type of dog appears to be a significant offender, but closer examination of the circumstances surrounding the deaths indicates serious problems with owner and/or parent responsibility.
     
  • Securing dogs or packs of dogs in child-proof, escape-proof enclosures when unsupervised on the owner's property, not allowing dogs to run loose in public, parents supervising young children at ALL times, and parents or dog owners supervising child/dog interactions would have prevented 24 of the 25 deaths.

 

So remember, every time you're tempted to blame the breed, keep in mind the two simple things that could have been done to prevent all of these deaths:

  1. Physical control or enclosure of the dog by the dog owner
     
  2. Supervision of the child by the parent or the dog owner

 

 

Summaries:

 

 

# of Attacks

24

 

# of Victims

25

 

# of Dogs

61

 

# of Attacks > 1 dog

13

 

# of Attacks > 2 dogs

9

 

# of "attacks" accidental

2

 

 

 

 

Victim's Age:

 

 

0 - 2

5

 

3 - 5

10

 

6 - 12

8

 

13 - 16

0

 

17+

2

 

 

 

 

Dog Location:

 

 

Home

10

 

Relative

4

 

Neighbour

4

 

Loose

6

 

 

 

 

Breed of Dog in the 24 attacks:

 

 

In cases where the dog was a mix of 2 breeds, each breed was given 1/2 (0.5).

 

In cases where there was more than one dog involved and the breeds were different, each

breed was given the percentage of dogs of that breed involved.  For example, in the case

of the 3 Rottweilers and 1 Border Collie, the Rottweilers comprised 0.75 of the attack and

the Border Collie 0.25.

 

It is important to keep in mind the following points when considering breed:

  1. Breed has not been proven to be a determining factor in dog attacks.  It is clear from this analysis that owner control and parent responsibility are the two factors that would have prevented all except one of these deaths.
     
  2. The breeds of the dogs in these attacks have NOT been independently verified and cannot be.  Visual identification of breed is at best subjective and is extremely unreliable.

German Shepherd

4

 

Husky

4

(3 x 1,  2 x 0.5)

Unknown

4

(Northern dogs, perhaps Husky mixes)

Rottweiler

3.25

(2 x 1,  1 x 0.5,  1 x 0.75)

Sled Dog

3

(Northern dogs, perhaps Husky mixes)

AmStaff ("pit bull")

1

 

Bullmastiff

1

 

Chow Chow

1

 

Labrador

1

(2 x 0.5)

Maremma Sheepdog

1

 

Wolf

0.5

(1 x 0.5)

Border Collie

0.25

(1 x 0.25)

 

 

 

Solutions:

 

 

"Pit Bull" Ban

0 - 1

(dogs would probably have been grandfathered)

Muzzle "Pit bulls" in public

0

(dogs were not in public)

Secure enclosure for "Pit Bulls"

0

(victim and dogs were inside an apartment)

Muzzle ALL dogs in public

0

(dogs would only be muzzled if on leash)

Leash ALL dogs in public

6

 

Secure enclosure for ALL dogs

18

(high fences and high latched gates)

Supervise child (no dog expected)

8

 

Supervise child/dog interaction

9

 

None of the above

1

 

 

 

Comments:

 

A strictly enforced leash and loose dog law may have helped in some of the off-leash cases where dogs were deliberately allowed to roam loose or where packs of strays were running loose.

 

Secure enclosures that prevent children from entering yards would have had significant impact.  These same secure enclosures would have prevented dogs from breaking loose.  Another solution would be if the dogs were not left unattended in the yards.

 

In all cases where supervising children (with no dog expected) is suggested, the children were 6 years old or younger and had been left unsupervised.  We assume that the parent did NOT know there would be child/dog interaction.  So simply knowing where the child was and what he/she was doing would have prevented these attacks.  The assumption is that a parent or guardian should always know where a child 6 years old or younger is.

 

Supervising child/dog interaction in the cases where the parent or guardian (e.g., neighbour) knew that the child was interacting with the dog would have had significant impact.

 

In how many of these cases were owners criminally charged or significantly fined?

 

 

Date of Attack

Breed of Dog(s)

# of Dogs

Victim's Age/Sex

Circumstances Relevant to Attack (Notes)

Location

Dog Location

Mar 1983

Farm dogs

Two

3 yrs - M

Free roaming dogs attacked boy near his home

Edmonton AB

Loose

Apr 1987

German Shepherd X

One

5 yrs - F

Girl went to play with grandmother's chained dog

Vernon BC

Relative

Jun 1988

German Shepherd

One

17 mo - M

Wandered over to neighbour's dog

Quebec

Neighbour

Apr 1990

Chow Chow

One

< 30 days - F

Family dog overturned bassinet

Ontario

Home

Jul 1993

Sled dog

One+

6 yrs - F

Tried to feed bone to tethered dogs

NWT

Home

Dec 1993

Sled dog

Five

11 yrs - F

Attacked by loose dogs while walking home

Alberta

Loose

Sep 1994

Maremma Sheepdog

One

17 mo - F

Attacked when got between male dog & female dog in heat

Ontario

Home

Aug 1995

American Staffordshire Terrier

Two

22 yrs - M

Evidence indicated drunken roommate provoked dogs

Ontario

Home

Dec 1995

German Shepherd

Two

6 yrs - M

Attacked while playing in yard by uncle's dogs

Saskatchewan

Relative

1996

Strays

Four

3 yrs - M

Killed on Cross Lake Reservation by stray dogs

Manitoba

Loose

Sep 1997

Sled dog
(Husky/Wolf X's)

One

3 yrs - M

Attacked in junk-filled yard by chained dog, loose puppies also in yard

Saskatchewan

Home

Nov 1997

Rottweiler

One

3 yrs - M

Resident dog broke loose from chain and attacked boy

Ontario

Home

Mar 1998

Sled dog

Pack

6 yrs - F

Wandered to dogs staked on sea ice

Iqaluit

Neighbour

Apr 1998

Bullmastiff

One

8 yrs - F

Attacked while playing in neighbour's yard

Stouffville ON

Neighbour

Aug 1998

Sled dog
(Labrador/Husky X's)

Eight

10yrs - M

Mother & son killed while picking blueberries on island where pack of sled dogs was left for summer

Newfoundland

Loose

Aug 1998

 

 

44 yrs - F

Mother & son killed while picking blueberries on island where pack of sled dogs was left for summer

 

 

Dec 1998

Strays

Six

8 yrs - M

Second child killed by stray dogs on Cross Lake Reservation

Manitoba

Loose

Mar 1999

Husky X

One

3 yrs - F

Attacked while playing in neighbour's yard

British Columbia

Neighbour

May 1999

Husky

One

2 yrs - M

Victim tangled up in chain of one of 24 dogs kept in yard

Quebec

Home

Jul 1999

Husky X

One

2 yrs - M

Attacked while with mother at grandfather's home

NWT

Relative

Nov 1999

Pack

Pack

6 yrs - F

Girl playing with loose puppy, killed by pack of starving dogs

Alberta

Loose

Jan 2002

Labrador X,
Rottweiler

Two

4 yrs - F

Attacked in field while visiting father's home

Ontario

Home

Mar 2003

Rottweiler

Three

4 yrs -M

Visiting at home with father, killed in yard where 2 males and 1 female were kept

New Brunswick

Home

Oct 2003

German Shepherd X

Four

3 yrs - M

Attacked and killed by 4 of grandmother's 15 dogs

Manitoba

Relative

Dec 2004

Border Collie,
3 Rottweilers

Four

3 yrs - M

Killed by 2 of his own dogs (Border Collie and Rottweiler) and 2 visiting dogs while mother slept

Maple Ridge BC

Home

 

 

Sources:

- Dog Legislation Council of Canada - http://www.doglegislationcouncilcanada.org/

- Karen Delise, author of "Fatal Dog Attacks" - http://www.fataldogattacks.com/

 

Updated September 26, 2007

 


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Back to Previous Page Copyright 2008 Steve Barker