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Should pit bulls be outlawed?

Pit bulls head the list of the most dangerous breeds of dogs, and for good reason. The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal reported that more than half of all dog attacks involve some breed of terrier, including the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire and the Staffordshire bull terrier. After your recent dog bite, you may not need a report to convince you of this.

Most Rhode Island counties do not have specific ordinances regarding pit bull breeds, but studies show that those areas that do restrict the breeds may be justified. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consistently lists pit bull breeds at the top of their breeds that are likely to bite and to cause serious injuries.

The dog or its owner?

Not only are pit bulls more likely to attack, but those attacks often result in higher medical bills and a greater risk of fatality than attacks by other dog breeds. You may be among those dog lovers who disagree with the findings and say that a dog of any breed is dangerous if its owners treat it poorly or raise it to be aggressive. However, it is difficult to tell if the dogs are vicious because of their owners or if the owners choose the breed because it is vicious.

One recent study showed that people who own pit bulls may be attracted to the aggression of the breed because those dog owners tend to have the following traits in common:

  • Convictions for violent crimes, especially involving guns
  • Records for crimes involving children
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Instances of domestic abuse
  • Propensity for fighting
  • Mindset of entitlement and criminal thinking

Rhode Island law holds a dog's owner responsible if the dog injures you, unless the dog was inside its enclosure at the time of the attack. If the dog that attacked you was not within its enclosure, its owner is strictly liable.

Reliving your attack

Even a small dog bite is painful and often leads to infection. Whether it is a bite on the hand, leg or other body part, you will likely need stitches, antibiotics and pain medication. If the bite is on your face, you may need complicated reconstructive surgery and face the trauma of permanent scarring. In many cases, dog bite victims suffer emotionally for years after their attack.

Whether the dog that bit you was one of the breeds on the CDC's list of dangerous dogs or an innocent-looking mutt, you have the right to seek possible compensation for your suffering. An attorney with experience winning restitution for many victims of animal attacks will be your best advocate in helping you get your life back after your frightening experience.

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