[Death caused by "attack dog" bites. A contribution to current discussion]

Arch Kriminol. Nov-Dec 1998;202(5-6):140-51.
[Article in German]


Two cases of fatal dog-bite incidents caused by males of the "American Staffordshire terrier" breed currently known as "fighting dogs" are reported. Both happened in elderly women, one of them handicapped. Reconstruction of the accidents revealed some peculiar characteristics of these dogs, namely the ability to attack undesirably and forcefully as well as the enormous grip of their jaws. Considerable public attention has been drawn to some breeds which seem to predominate in dog-bite statistics and are summarized as "pit bulls". For the animal behaviourist it is not justifiable to condemn only the dog and blame it solely for damage inflicted. Scientific casework has to encompass the situational background of any case and the animal's holder because there is often a close association between the character of the dog and its human counterpart. Implications of such incidents for public safety policy and forensic science are to be discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Autopsy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Bites and Stings / mortality*
  • Bites and Stings / pathology
  • Cause of Death*
  • Dogs*
  • Female
  • Homicide / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / pathology