There are some breeds of dogs that people commonly think of as dangerous. Supposedly, these breeds tend to bite people without being provoked.
There have even been some older government studies which identified dangerous breeds that supposedly were more likely to bite and seriously injure people.
Based on these studies, many insurance companies and even government authorities passed laws discriminating against people who owned dogs with supposedly dangerous breeding.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, more recent evidence suggests that the breed of a dog is not a reliable indication of whether the dog is going to bite someone.
On a related point, sometimes a dog’s breeding might not be clear, and people can even make mistakes when identifying a dog’s specific breed.
Finally, in the big picture, the vast majority of dogs are not a threat to people. There are an estimated 74 million dogs being kept as pets, and there are 334,000 annual visits to emergency rooms for dog bites.
Some governments and insurance companies are responding to this new information with laws and rules that do not judge a dog’s aggression by its breed.
Pet owners can do a lot to prevent dog bites
The new information suggests that individual pet owners can do a lot to prevent a dog from biting.
Spaying or neutering a dog, for example, cuts down on aggressive behavior in male dogs and also discourages male dogs from wandering to seek a potential mate. It also ensures that there is not a surplus of unwanted animals that may not get properly socialized.
A dog’s bite risk also increases when an owner abuses or neglects a dog. Some owners may even intentionally train their animals to be aggressive.
Even if it does not amount to animal neglect, studies do show that a dog which spends too much time chained up is more likely to develop aggressive habits. Owners should also strongly consider formal dog training and should be sure to watch over their pets.
If anything, more recent information confirms that responsibility for dog bites belongs with the owner of the animal. A Connecticut dog bite victim should evaluate whether he or she can claim compensation from a negligent dog owner.