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« Two dog bite fatalities week of 8/13 | Main | Back in the Saddle »

August 27, 2012



calculate dogbites/capita.
Raw statistics are pretty useless for exactly the reason you point out. Population goes up, "x" goes up.



I was unable to find specific yearly totals for population as the census only updates estimates every few years.

The link I provided above to the city of Austin data actually has a bites per capita chart. At its lowest point (in 2005) it is a little below .1%, at its highest point, it is a little above .1% - -probably around .13% or .14%. So it appears to have gone up a little since 2005, but that would also mirror the increase in dog ownership over that time and again, began going up years before the city declared itself no kill. And again, I'll note, the largest increase was in the very minor bites...


More detailed data from the city can be found here:

John Richardson

Yeah, she's cherry picking. No surprise there.


DBO is an easy target for animal welfare folks, and her website is good for a few laughs, but this illustrates the real underlying problem with their point of view. Selective data that is chosen to support a predetermined opinion can generally easily be refuted, or at least countered. For once, it looks like a fairly professional approach was used - but when the response is also professionally prepared and the issue is thoroughly investigated, the recommendations just don't make a lot of sense.


I am glad to see her put her foot in her mouth in public. I am tired of debating with people that get their info. from her site, cause they believe it's all true. But their is a way to reduce the dog bites number. That is at the first signs of aggression. Having a dog temperament tested and educating dog owners. Tho, a lot of people own dogs. Not all know how to properly take care of their dogs.(exercise, socialization, etc....)


Sounds like Austin has some pretty good people working doing due dilligence. One thing about Lynne, she sure can spew allot of BS. Nice to see her get her hand caught in the cookie jar.

Ras Jacks

Don't let the numbers fool you either way, my friends. Regardless of the data anti-dog advocates will always exist and attempt to gain tighter laws on dogs. As long as dogs bite there will be hate groups. No one likes getting bit after all. Some of the most fanatic criticism seems to be coming from the Church of Antimuttology who openly condemn all breeds of dogs as evil.
I'm not sure what branch of religion they are classified under exactly, but they seem profoundly aggravated by the existence of dogs.
Anyway, cheers on your blog! This is one of the most comprehensive that I have seen so far and it seems more balanced than PETA's website even. I really appreciate the work you do to protect our furry friends. :-) If possible, Go Vegan!

A Facebook User

Thank you so much for presenting a truly rational perspective that is both factual and objective. The amount of vitriol hurled at anyone who tries to present a reasonable argument against BSL or mandatory Pit type Spay/Neuter laws by the DBO crowd is always amazing. The ignorance is certainly frightening. Recently I was reading a thread in which Tony Solesky defended his lawsuit in Maryland. He could only reference DBO stats and when confronted with facts he was reduced to making statements like "The AKC considers Pit bulls to be the dumbest of breeds" Apparently he was unaware that the AKC doesn't recognize a breed known as "Pit Bull" and that they don't necessarily rate breeds by a single intelligence quotient. Again thank you for this website and the work you do.

Randy Carothers

Of course the number of dog bites goes up as the population increases. No real suprise there and certainly the trend lines show that. But based on Austin's own numbers it appears since 2007 the bites are up approximately 30% and the population is up perhaps 13%. (I am interpolating from the graph). Sure some are not serious bites and not huge numbers but if car wrecks were going up quicker than the population I suspect it would be worrisome from a public safety stand point even if they were not serious wrecks. And remeber every bite is a potential rabies spread to a human no matter how minor. Is that No Kills fault? Can't say but the trend in bites would appear to be rising quicker than the population is rising. And of course Austin is in a bit of a box having publically gone no kill so I am not surprised they are supportive of the political decisions they have already made. Also, I noticed their is no mention of Austin's Public Safety Commission (a group of citizens)that came to a differnt conclusion all together and believes bites are up on a per capita basis. Once again is this No Kills fault? Don't think anyone really knows just yet.



Keep in mind that while the human population probably went up 13% or so (I'll take your word for it, I haven't gone back to the graph(the dog population has likely gone up by more than that amount as the percent of the population owning dogs (and total number owned) has been growing for the past decade. The number of bites per capita for the dog population may still be going up, but this would even out the numbers even further.

I pretty much discount the rabies possibility. Rabies in domesticated dogs in this country is virtually non-existent and it's been more than 30 years since the last person in the US died from a domestic dog bite (there have been a few from bats, or dog bites in other countries). While people should still take precautions because of the severity of rabies, the likelihood of someone getting it is virtually non-existent in the US.

If when you talk about the Austin Public Safety Commission report you're referring to the document put together by Colleen Lynn, then yes, I purposefully left it off as Lynn shared only a part of the same data that is presented above, and has proven herself to have an agenda of creating fear and hysteria around dog bites, particularly for those involving particular breeds of dogs, against No Kill, and for presenting false and misleading data in order to further her agenda. If there is something else that was presented, then I'd love to see a copy.

Randy Carothers

Hi Brent and thanks for the thoughts. I guess the increase could be accounted for by an increase in dog ownership although that seems like quite a jump in those limited number of years to be accounted for by that unless ownership of animals really increased substantially. As for rabies I will grant it is certainly limited to non existant but that is due to many years of dilligence and increased use of rabies vaccines. All good things for sure. Will use my car analogy again and state if seat belts have reduced injury accidents we don't want to stop using them just because the rate has dropped. At least in Texas State Law still requires a rabies quarantine in an animal bite cases so those smarter than me seem to still think their is still some risk from it. Of course the State Law could be outdated but that is a whole other discussion, lol. I do not know this Lynn person at all and I personally don't carry any particular breed bias but just looked at the overall numbers. I have however seen (and this kind of one of observation can always be misleading) animals that bit adopted out on multiple occasions and then returned for biting only to be adopted out again. The people doing the adopting were certainly trying to help the animal but in turn were puting folks and sometimes kids at risk a they did not disclose the information. They were strongly driven by desire to minimize euthanasia but there is a balance some where. I guess time will tell how successful we can be. I also noticed your comments on Austin and the fact it is a journey. I really appreciate your insight into how challanging an open admission shelter environment can be. Unfrotunately their are some in the No Kill movement that seem to get a kick out of demeaning shelters rescue run or other wise because they cannot attain some goal over night. That is sad to me as it may take a wonderfull goal of reducing euthanasia and turn it into a radical political agenda that wil be harder to support. I have seen shelters that attempted to go No Kill over night and the animals are the ones that suffer. Thanks again for your thoughts.


"Unfortunately there are some in the No Kill movement that seem to get a kick out of demeaning shelters rescue run or other wise because they cannot attain some goal over night. That is sad to me as it may take a wonderfull goal of reducing euthanasia and turn it into a radical political agenda that wil be harder to support." -- I don't disagree. While I think that no kill (as defined by 90% save rates, understanding some need to be truly euthanized due to disease, injury, or aggression)can happen in this country, I do think it is a process in many places and requires a lot of infastructure (fosters, volunteers, rescues, spay/neuter, etc) to happen. I think every place is at a different spot along the continuum than others, and thus, will take more or less time to implement. First, we need to change the conversation about "if" it can happen, and focus more on "how" to make it happen -- tand then work with communities to make these changes happen more quickly.

Randy Carothers

Very well said! Spay neuter won't do it alone, increased adoptions won't do it alone, pretending their is no problem won't do it alone and so on. But a comprehensive non emotional approach to reaching the goal has a good chance!!

William Worsham

Just saying, that no-kill often only cites statistics, or even claims "data" that is not actually data, which only supports its cause. It is no suprise this person did the same.

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