Dog Bite-Related Fatalities: A 15-Year Review of Kentucky Medical Examiner Cases.
Shields, Lisa B. E. MD *+; Bernstein, Mark L. DDS ++; Hunsaker, John C. III MD, JD [S][P]; Stewart, Donna M. MD *+
American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology.
30(3):223-230, September 2009.
(Format: HTML, PDF)
A human dog bite-related fatality generally refers to death proximately caused by trauma from a dog's teeth and jaws. According to The Humane Society of the United States, more than 300 individuals died of dog attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1996. Children <12 and elders >70 years represent the typical victims. Pit bull-type dogs, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds constitute the majority of canines implicated in these fatalities.
This is a 15-year (1991-2005) retrospective review of dog bite-related fatalities undergoing medicolegal investigation in Kentucky. Of the 11 deaths, 10 consisted of multiple bite marks and blunt force injuries of the head and neck, trunk, and extremities. In 1 case, an asplenic victim's immediate cause of death was bacterial sepsis secondary to a dog bite. Individuals ranged between 14 months and 87 years; 7 (63.6%) were <=6 years; 10 (90.9%) individuals were white, and 8 (72.7%) were male. Forensic odontological examinations were performed on the dogs in 4 cases. The requisite multidisciplinary investigation includes a detailed assessment of the scene, the victim, and dog or dogs suspected in the attack.
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