Almost 1,000 US citizens need emergency medical attention due to dog bite injuries. Moreover, from 2005 to 2019, canines killed more than 500 Americans. The pitbull got first place among the dog breeds named because its attacks led to 346 deaths. The Rottweiler was in second place as a breed of dog with 51 human fatalities.
In 2022, CNN reported that a German shepherd and a mastiff allegedly attacked an Amazon driver. Police officers in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, discovered the driver’s body and the two dogs behind a gate near the delivery truck. According to the sheriff, the driver’s body showed injuries similar to canine bites.
Two Rottweilers and two mixed-breed dogs attacked an Idaho boy and his mother the following year. The child died while his mother sustained severe injuries. The dogs’ owner was cited for 15 violations, including having too many pets and for a dangerous animal attack.
Most people consider a pet dog a man’s best friend, but sometimes, these animals injure people. Communicate with a personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one sustained harm from a dog bite accident.
Dogs With the Strongest Bite Force
Humans have long considered dogs loving companions because of their loyalty and affection. But like other animals, canines also exude strength and aggression. They can exert a harmful amount of force when biting.
Pounds per square inch (PSI) is the pressure exerted by a dog’s bite. It measures a dog breed’s bite strength.
Researchers may use a bite sleeve to determine a dog’s bite force. They also consider the following factors:
- Weight of the dog
- Size of dog’s jaw
- Hardness of surface
The canines on this list have a bite force ranging from 210 to 700 PSI. The strongest bite force exerted by dogs does not compare to that of a crocodile bite at 3,700 PSI. However, they can still lead to severe injuries and fatalities.
The English bulldog weighs 40 to 50 pounds and has a bite force of 210 PSI. It is usually friendly with children and other pets, so most people consider it a safe companion. However, it can show aggression towards strangers because an English Bulldog can act protective of its pet parents.
In 2015, an English bulldog bit two women aged 30 and 52. The first woman attempted to lock up the chihuahua, but the bulldog attacked her. The second woman successfully helped the first victim but only temporarily. When the police officers tried to place the bulldog in the car’s back seat, it escaped and began biting the second woman.
A similar breed is the American bulldog. With a PSI of 305, it has a stronger bite force than the English bulldog. This breed serves as guard dogs, hunting partners, and family pets. They are outgoing, playful, and loyal but can show aggression without proper socialization.
In Vernon, an American bulldog injured two people and killed another canine. According to the owner, they had locked the gate, but the dog must have broken free. The owner also added that the American bulldog might have an inherent urge to catch prey despite being an obedient pet.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Labrador retriever in 1971. It has a bite force of 230 PSI and weighs between 55 and 80 pounds, making it a medium to large breed. Most people treat retrievers as domestic dogs, but the military uses them as war dogs due to their loyalty and agility.
Suppose you have a Labrador retriever as a family dog. You might notice its affection towards children, other animals, and strangers in that case. However, they can still harm others if they feel threatened or scared.
For instance, the mother of an 8-year-old boy is considering filing a case regarding the dog attack that injured her son. In September 2022, a Labrador retriever attacked a boy at an unlicensed daycare. According to the victim’s mother, his son suffered injuries in the face, arm, chest, and back. The child may need several more surgeries in the future.
Another Labrador attack injured a 30-year-old mom who was visiting a friend. According to the victim, her friend’s Labrador retriever was usually friendly, but something triggered the dog. As a result, the canine bit her top and bottom lip. She may need three lip surgeries to return to her previous appearance.
The American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) can generate a PSI of 235, higher than the English Bulldog and the Labrador retriever. It weighs 30 to 90 pounds and stands 17 to 19 inches. The APBT has a muscular build of varying colors since the breed is a mix of bulldogs and terriers.
The APBT’s aggressiveness depends on early socialization, so owners must train them at an early age. It is naturally playful, protective, and affectionate. However, it can also be a fighting dog due to its powerful jaws. This dog’s bite force can even lead to a person’s death.
For instance, a seven-year-old girl died due to a pit bull attack. CBS News reported that the child was playing outside when a neighbor’s dog attacked her. The owner admitted that they left their pit bull unrestrained. Moreover, the canine often roamed around the nearby properties. The authorities took the owner into custody for alleged homicide.
Another deadly event happened in Colorado, where an 89-year-old woman died after two pit bulls attacked her. The police officers even witnessed the dogs biting the woman. They used tasers and non-lethal shotguns to stop the animals. Although emergency responders took the victim to a hospital, she died of critical injuries.
The American Kennel Club recognized the German shepherd in 1908. This dog has a strong bite with a PSI of 238, more significant than the English Bulldog, retriever, and pitbull. On average, it weighs from 65 to 90 pounds. Also, this large breed stands from 22 to 26 inches tall.
Herders trained German shepherds to be herding dogs due to their obedience and intelligence. Now, homeowners consider them great guard dogs and one of their best friends. They stay loyal, but it means they can be reserved around strangers.
For instance, a college student in Texas lost her ears, nose, and lips after a German shepherd attack. A pitbull inside the same house also injured the 21-year-old woman. According to CBS News, the pet owners hired the student as a pet sitter. However, the owners did not lock up the dogs before leaving. When the canines saw her, they immediately charged at her, ruining her face.
In Randleman, North Carolina, a German shepherd/rottweiler mix injured a five-year-old girl and her mother. The dog left 16 punctures and large lacerations on the child’s body, while the mother suffered injuries on her left hand. Clearly, the incident was traumatizing for the whole family.
The Siberian husky is an average dog in size with a bite force of 320 PSI, greater than the American Bulldog. It can weigh from 35 to 60 pounds, depending on its sex. Its height also ranges from 20 to 23.5 inches. The Siberian husky, a close descendant of the wolfdog, wants an active environment and lifestyle.
Hence, a bored Siberian husky will most likely destroy things inside the house and dig holes outside. They may even escape, so their owners must provide these animals with several physical activities.
Although they are friendly with kids, adults must still supervise the children to avoid unfortunate accidents. Their strong jaws can significantly injure their prey, whether young or old.
For example, a Siberian husky in Utah grabbed a boy and dragged him across the street. As a result of the accident, the child needed up to 3,000 stitches. He must also undergo reconstructive surgeries to fix his face. According to the mother, the dog threw his son around like a rag doll.
In December 2022, a Siberian husky killed a four-day-old baby. ABC7 News reported that the dog put its mouth on the infant’s head. Unfortunately, the family dog’s tooth penetrated the child’s head. Its tremendous bite force proved fatal to the infant.
Rottweilers usually weigh 80 to 135 pounds and have a powerful bite of 328 PSI. They also have broad heads and wide eyes. Moreover, they can live up to 12 years with proper care.
They are gentle, interactive, and intelligent. However, they need lots of mental stimulation. They can show unwanted and hostile behavior if not exposed to proper socialization.
Some homeowners also consider them guard dogs due to their protective instincts. They also have a territorial personality that can be useful yet dangerous. Hence, owners must adequately train Rottweilers through positive reinforcement.
In North Carolina, the family’s pet Rottweilers killed a 10-month-old baby. After hearing a commotion outside their house, the father found his child unresponsive. Another incident happened in West Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a Rottweiler jumped the fence and attacked three children. The youngest child needed stitches, but all kids experienced a traumatic event.
A 51-year-old woman also had to undergo six feet worth of sutures due to a Rottweiler attack. According to the sheriff, one dog chewed her leg while the other bit her scalp. The victim was jogging when the incident occurred.
Mastiffs are large dogs that stand up to 30 inches. They weigh 120 to 230 pounds with a bite force of 500 to 700 PSI. For instance, the Dogo Argentino has a bite force of 500 PSI. Another variety is the Dogo Canario or the Presa Canario, which has a powerful bite of 540 PSI.
The English mastiff and the bull mastiff have a PSI of 552, while the Dogue de Bordeaux or the French mastiff’s bite can generate a 556 PSI. Moreover, the Cane Corso, or the mastiff bred in Italy, has a strong bite force of 700 PSI.
People have used mastiffs as guard dogs, making them wary of strangers. They also protected livestock as part of their roles as working dogs. They may be gentle with children, but mastiffs are more suitable in homes without kids due to their large size and strong bite force.
A 75-year-old woman died after experiencing trauma to her upper torso due to a mastiff attack. She had adopted the dog but planned to turn it in for being too aggressive. The dog also mauled her son with autism. According to their neighbors, the dog showed aggressive behavior in the past.
The Kangal belongs to the Anatolian shepherd dog raised in Turkey, where it protected livestock from predators. Although the American Kennel Club recognized the Anatolian shepherd in 1996, it does not acknowledge the Kangal.
The Kangal takes the title because it has the strongest bite force of up to 743 PSI. It weighs from 90 to 150 pounds and stands up to 34 inches. This canine needs to exercise and explore the outdoors. Activities for the Kangal include walking, hiking, and obedience training. Since the Kangal is an active dog, it can display hostile behavior when bored.
Due to its powerful bite, it is best for homes with children not to keep a Kangal. Even older victims have difficulty stopping the dog due to its enormous size.
Possible Liable Parties in a Dog Bite Accident
Liability may attach to the owner or the landlord in a dog attack. It depends on the dog bite laws that each state follows.
A dog owner may be responsible based on negligence. Its elements include:
- The defendant’s legal duty
- Breach of the duty
- Plaintiff’s injury
- Connection between the breach and injury
An example involves owners with the legal duty to leash their pets. If an unleashed German shepherd mauls someone, the injured party might demand compensation from the negligent owner.
An owner may also be liable under the one-bite rule. This rule states that the plaintiff must prove the owner knew of the dog’s propensity to attack another person.
Moreover, the courts may find the dog owner responsible under the strict liability principle. It is when the owner is liable for a dog attack regardless of their intention. Hence, the plaintiff does not need to prove the defendant’s negligent acts or knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.
In Barrwood Homeowners Assoc. v Maser, the District Court of Appeal of Florida judged in favor of Alexander Maser. A dog attcked the minor while on the property of BARR. The court ruled that a landowner was liable because they knew of the dog’s vicious presence and had control of the premises.
Defenses in a Dog Bite Lawsuit
The possible defenses in a dog attack lawsuit include trespassing and two kinds of negligence systems.
If someone trespasses and a dog attacks them while on private property, the dog owner may bring up this defense. Hence, the victim’s personal injury lawyer must prove that they entered the property where the attack happened lawfully.
Section 3342 of the California Civil Code states that unlawful entry bars an individual from filing a claim for a dog attack. Another example is Section 4:19-16 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes. It says that the plaintiff must be lawfully on public or private property to claim damages for dog attacks.
Under the comparative negligence system, the court may reduce the amount of damages that an injured party may recover. States that follow the pure comparative negligence doctrine allow plaintiffs to recover damages, although they are 99 percent liable. Hence, they can receive one percent of the total compensation.
On the contrary, modified comparative negligence places a bar on the right to sue for damages. States may follow one of two types. The 50 percent bar rule prohibits plaintiffs from getting compensation if they are 50 percent or more at fault. The 51 percent bar rule prevents claimants from receiving damages if they are 51 percent or more responsible for the accident.
Under the contributory negligence system, an injured party may not recover damages if they bear any responsibility for the accident. Negligence on the part of the plaintiff may include provoking the animal or approaching without the owner’s permission. If these scenarios happen, the court will not order the dog owner to compensate the injured party.
Recoverable Damages After a Dog Bite Attack
A dog bite victim may receive reimbursement for medical expenses, such as hospital bills, surgery costs, and physical rehabilitation fees. In severe injuries, they may also demand compensation for lost wages and loss of earning opportunities. Immediate family or personal representative of a decedent may also ask for payment for funeral costs.Since victims undergo a traumatic experience, they can receive compensation for pain and suffering. For example, suppose a large dog with a powerful bite mauled you. You may suffer from emotional trauma, discomfort, and inconvenience in that case.
Did you know?
The Insurance Information Institute reported that homeowners insurance policies usually cover up to $300,000 in case of dog bite liability.
Find a Dog Bite Attorney Near You
Dogs can be your best friends but can cause significant harm. Additionally, some dogs have a stronger bite than others, which may result in more devastating accidents.
Visit The Personal Injury Center if you have been a dog attack victim. Answer a few questions about your case so we can match you with a dog bite attorney. This way, you can receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Have you been injured in a dog bite accident? Visit The Personal Injury Center for free legal information. Book your free consultation today!
FAQs on Dog Bite Attacks
What legal actions should you take after a dog bite?
You can file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company or a personal injury case against the owner or the landlord. Another option involves agreeing to an out-of-court settlement.
Can you file a criminal case after a dog attack?
A criminal case is possible if the owner keeps dangerous dogs and the animals cause injuries to another person. However, your attorney must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is your recourse if the dog owner is unknown?
You must go to a police station to report the incident and contact a lawyer immediately. These experts may help you in locating the dog owner. It is also possible that local authorities know the dog and its owner due to several complaints.