There are probably few in New Haven who don’t either own a dog or at least know someone who does.  Most of the time, these animals remain calm and docile around people. However, this calm demeanor often causes people to forget that they are animals, and thus subject to moments when instinct takes over and they become aggressive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 368,425 dog bite injuries that required medical treatment in 2001. While it may be difficult to know just when a dog will attack, one can know which breeds pose the greatest risks to people.

Based upon the percentage of attacks by breed, the website DogsBite.org lists the following three types of dogs as the most dangerous:

  •          Pit bulls
  •          Rottweilers
  •          Mastiffs

The website goes on to say that these particular dogs are often bred for fighting, which could contribute to their increased likelihood to attack.

Many of the victims of dog attacks are visitors to owners’ homes. Part of the reason for this could be their unfamiliarity with the dogs and how to behave around them. Aggressive dogs will often growl and bare their teeth in an attempt to engage an attack. However, most people are lead to believe that a dog growl is a defensive gesture, and that if they back down, so too will the dog. Yet typically, aggressive dogs will take retreat as a sign to give chase.

This atypical pattern of behavior puts the onus on owners to ensure that the visitors they invite into their homes either avoid their dogs or know what actions may set the animals off.  

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