Get the facts

With the implementation of “Breed Specific Legislation” (BSL) discussions in their communities, members of Velvet Hearts took it upon themselves to get informed on the proposed BSL and whether or not it would reduce the risk of injury to the public.


Patronek et al. Study in 2013 This study published in 2013, in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, examines potentially preventable factors in human dog bite–related fatalities (DBRFs) on the basis of data from sources that were more complete, verifiable, and accurate than media reports used in previous studies.

Of the 256 DBRFs factors included :

  • absence of an able-bodied person to intervene (n = 223 [87.1%])

  • incidental or no familiar relationship of victims with dogs (218 [85.2%])

  • owner failure to neuter dogs (216 [84.4%])

  • compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (198 [77.4%])

  • dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions versus family dogs (195 [76.2%])

  • owners’ prior mismanagement of dogs (96 [37.5%])

  • owners’ history of abuse or neglect of dogs (54 [21.1%])

Four or more of these factors co-occurred in 206 (80.5%) deaths.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Most DBRFs were characterized by coincident, preventable factors; breed was not one of these. Study results supported previous recommendations for multifactorial approaches, instead of single-factor solutions such as breed-specific legislation, for dog bite prevention.

The study indicated that journalists only correctly identified the breed of a dog involved in less than 20% of the cases.

Gary J. Patronek et al, Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite–related fatalities in the United States (2000–2009), JAVMA, 2013 243: 12, 1726-1736


Do you have a meeting with your local representative coming up? Do you want to be well informed and have a handy go-to guide that you can print out?

American Kennel Club (AKC) and the SPCA Montreal has done just that. Click Here for direct access to their AKC summary and Click Here for the SPCA's "Safer, Kinder communities” page.


We have all heard the urban legends about pit bull type dogs. What is fact and what is fiction? Scroll through and find out below.

  • FEAR:

    “Pit bull” dogs have “locking jaws.”


    No dog, of any breed or mix, has an anatomical structure that could be a locking mechanism in their jaw. “We found that the American Pit Bull Terriers did not have any unique mechanism that would allow these dogs to lock their jaws.There were no mechanical or morphological differences. . .”

    Dr. I. Lehr Brisbin, University of Georgia
  • FEAR:

    “Pit bull” dogs have massive biting power measuring in 1,000s of pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI).


    On average, all dogs bite with approximately 320 lbs of pressure per square inch.This includes dogs commonly labeled “pit bull.” The bite pressure of a German Shepherd, an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Rottweiler were tested.The American Pit Bull Terrier had the least amount of bite pressure of the three dogs tested.

    Dr. Brady Barr, National Geographic
  • FEAR:

    “Pit bull” dogs attack without warning.


    All dogs, including dogs commonly labeled “pit bull”, signal their intent. “Pit bulls signal like other dogs.”

    The institute of Animal Welfare and Behavior of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany temperament tested over 1,000 dogs.
  • FEAR:

    While there are some “pit bull” dogs with good temperaments, they are the exception not the rule.


    The American Temperament Test shows the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier (three pure breed dogs, typically referred to as “pit bulls”), as well as the dogs labeled “Mixed Breed”, consistently score above the average for all breeds tested, year in and year out.

  • FEAR:

    “Pit bull” dogs are more dangerous than other dogs.


    There is no scientific evidence that one kind of dog is more likely than another to injure a human being than any other kind of dog.
    “…Controlled studies have not identified this breed group [pit bull-type dogs] as disproportionately dangerous.”

    American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)