MARK WULKAN, MD, surgeon at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
"There is a difference with the pit bulls. In the last two years we've seen 56 dog injuries that were so severe the patient had to be admitted to the hospital so this doesn't count just a little bite and then goes to the emergency room. Of those 56, 21 were pit bulls. And then when we look at our data even further, of the kids that were most severely injured, those that were in the hospital for more than 8 days or had life threatening injuries, 100% of those were pit bulls."
PETER ANTEVY, pediatric E.R. physician, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital
Dr Antvey sees at least five dog-bite victims a month in his emergency room. Unfortunately, he said, "the biggest offender is the pit bull."
MELISSA ARCA, MD
The reality is that any dog can bite, and statistically speaking, a child is most likely to be bitten by the family dog or a dog that they know. When you're talking about bite severity resulting in life-threatening and even fatal injuries, pit bulls and Rottweilers are the main culprits.
Experience absolutely colors our perception, and in this case I can't help but be affected by what I've seen. I will never forget a young child I treated in the ER during my pediatric residency. She suffered severe facial lacerations and tears to her face after a pit bull attack in her local park.
HORSWELL BB, CHAHINE CJ, oral surgeons
Dog bites of the facial region are increasing in children according to the Center for Disease Control. To evaluate the epidemiology of such injuries in our medical provider region, we undertook a retrospective review of those children treated for facial, head and neck dog bite wounds at a level 1 trauma center. Most dog bites occurred in or near the home by an animal known to the child/family. Most injuries were soft tissue related, however more severe bites and injuries were observed in attacks from the pit-bull and Rottweiler breeds. Younger (under five years) children sustained more of the injuries requiring medical treatment. Injury Severity Scales were determined as well as victim and payer mix demographics, type and characteristics of injury, and complications from the attack.
DR RICHARD SATTIN, chief of unintentional-injuries section of the Centers of Disease Control
We're trying to focus public attention on this greatly underestimated public hazard.
In 1979, pit bulls accounted for 20 percent of fatal attacks by dogs. That figure had risen to 62 percent by 1988.
Nobody knows the dog population of the United States or the exact breakdown by breed. We do not believe that pit bulls represent anywhere near 42% percent of dogs in the United States. Therefore, we believe that the pit bull excess in deaths is real and growing.
ROBERT D. NEWMAN, M.D.
As a pediatrician I was disturbed to read Vicki Hearne's assertion that there are no bad breeds, just bad dogs (Op-Ed, April 15). There is ample evidence to suggest that certain breeds of dogs are more dangerous to children than others.
From 1979 to 1994, there were 177 known dog-bite-related fatalities in the United States. Of these fatalities, 66 percent were caused by five breeds: pit bull, Rottweiler, shepherd, husky and malamute. If you include crosses among these five breeds, that number rises to 82 percent. Other breeds, like Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers were not implicated in a single fatality during this same period.
I laud the American Kennel Club's attempt to include information about dog breeds considered ''not good with children'' in the coming edition of ''The Complete Dog Book,'' and lament the fact that the book is being recalled at the request of some breeders.Seattle, April 16, 1998
Dr. EDGAR JOGANIK (after trying to reattach scalp and ear to a pit bull victim)
Pit bull attacks are typically the most severe, and in about one-third of all attacks, the animals are family pets or belong to close friends.
That should be the message, that these dogs should not be around children, adults are just as likely to be victims.
Everyone should be extremely cautious.
DR. MICHAEL FEALY
When a Pit Bull is involved the bites are worse. When they bite, they bite and lock and they don't let go... they bite lock and they rip and they don't let go.
DR. CHRISTOPHER DEMAS
Bites from pit bulls inflict much more damage, multiple deep bites and ripping of flesh and are unlike any other domestic animal I've encountered. Their bites are devastating - close to what a wildcat or shark would do.
DR. AMY WANDEL, plastic surgeon
I see just as many dog bites from dogs that are not pit bulls as bites from pit bulls. The big difference is pit bulls are known to grab onto something and keep holding so their damage they create is worse than other breeds.
DR. PATRICK BYRNE, Johns Hopkins Hospital
I can't think of a single injury of this nature that was incurred by any other species other than a pit bull or a rottweiler.
ANDREW FENTON, M.D.
As a practicing emergency physician, I have witnessed countless dog bites. Invariably, the most vicious and brutal attacks I have seen have been from the pit bull breed. Many of the victims have been children. In a recent study from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, pit bull attacks accounted for more ER visits than all other breeds combined.
In young children, the most common part of the body injured was the face. Numerous studies have proven that the number-one cause of dog bite fatalities is the pit bull breed. I am certain that many attacks are due to owner negligence, but the fact remains that many were unpredictable and were perpetrated by formerly "loving and loyal" pets.
Dr. Chagnon has every right to leave our town as she claims she will if pit bulls are banned, just like every one of her patients has the right not to attend her clinic where she brings her pit bulls. I applaud Mayor Pro Tem Joanne Sanders for bringing this issue to the forefront. In the interest of public safety, I recommend we enforce a spay/neuter requirement on pit bulls while reviewing and revamping all of our policies relating to animal bites.
JUGPAL S. ARNEJA, MD, FRCSC, KARA PAPPAS, B.S., WILLIAM HUETTNER, M.D., ARLENE A. ROZZELLE, M.D., GURBALBIR SINGH, M.D., FRCSC
A ten-year, two-institution review of pediatric dog attacks: Advocating for a nationwide prohibition of dangerous dogs
Affectionately referred to as ‘man’s best friend’, dog attacks in the pediatric population often test this analogy. Pediatric dog attacks are a significant public health issue that negatively affects the psychological well-being of a child. We performed analysis of our cumulative two-institution pediatric dog attack data, present representative cases and offer evidence to support a nationwide prohibition of dangerous dogs.
A retrospective review was performed at two urban Children’s hospitals from 1996-2005 of all dog attacks presenting to the plastic surgery service. Charts were reviewed with analysis of patient demographics, injury site, operative intervention, and dog-specific data.
109 patients were included for review, with 83% of attacks occurring in the facial region. Mean age was 3.9 years (range 2-18 years). 67% of attacks involved multiple anatomic sites, 95% required surgical intervention with 30% requiring a skin graft or flap reconstruction. 88% of dogs were known to the victim, 46% of attacks were provoked, 73% of dogs were euthanized and 57% of dogs were deemed to be of a dangerous breed (Pit Bill or Rottweiler). Mean hospital duration was 4.7 days and 27% required additional reconstructive plastic surgery. Figures below illustrate a representative case of a 4-year old female attacked by her aunt's dog, resulting in a complete nasal amputation, preoperatively (upper), at time of forehead flap reconstruction (middle), and five years post-operatively (lower), with an acceptable functional and aesthetic reconstruction.
Dog attacks in the pediatric population produce significant costs including physical morbidity, psychological disability, and financial strains. A majority of attacks were by a known dog, in the facial region, by dogs which we define as of a dangerous breed. Much of the injury patterns are unique to children and these injuries and associated costs can be significantly diminished, as the problem is often preventable. Our cases present the ‘tip of the iceberg’ as our cases only represented consultations directed to Plastic Surgery. The Province of Ontario, Canada has banned Pit Bulls since 2004, as have several American cities. We describe the scope of the problem, preventative guidelines, and outline why organizational advocacy in plastic surgery should be directed towards a national prohibition of dangerous dogs.
This list will be continually updated.