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July 23, 1997

Dog-Bite—Related Fatalities—United States, 1995-1996

JAMA. 1997;278(4):278-279. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040032016

FROM 1979 through 1994, attacks by dogs resulted in 279 deaths of humans in the United States.1,2 Such attacks have prompted widespread review of existing local and state dangerous-dog laws, including proposals for adoption of breed-specific restrictions to prevent such episodes.3 To further characterize this problem and the involvement of specific breeds, CDC analyzed data from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and media accounts in the NEXIS database.* This report presents three recent cases of dog-bite—related fatalities (DBRFs), summarizes characteristics of such deaths during 1995-1996, and provides breed-specific data for DBRFs during 1979-1996. The findings in this report indicate that most DBRFs occurred among children and suggest approaches for prevention.

In January 1995, a 2-year-old boy in South Dakota wandered into a neighbor's yard, where he was attacked and killed by two chained wolf-German shepherd hybrids. In September 1995, a 3-week-old girl in Pennsylvania was