"When it's made clear to people, a lot of times they don't want the dog anymore," said Karen Gerold, director of environmental health for Erie County Health Department.
The group of dogs classified as "pit bulls" includes American pit bull terriers, American bulldogs, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, mixes of those breeds and even dogs that look like those breeds.
said dog bites were down this year.
In the last five years, animal bites have dropped from 217 to 113.Except for a spike in 1999, when 226 bites were reported, the trend seems to be toward fewer bites, Gerold
And only two reports of the county's 113 reported animal bites in 2002 specified that the animals were pit bulls, although Gerold
noted that the health department doesn't track specific dog breeds, and victims may not know what breed bit them.
"The reason for the numbers?I don't know," she
said."I'd like to think people are getting smarter about their animals -- how they choose them, train them and take care of them."
From 1979-96, pit bulls are blamed for attacking and killing 60 people; 31 of those attacks took place between 1983-88, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
.Second on the list, the rottweiler, was reported to have killed 29.Twenty of the attacks occurred from 1993-96.
said summer tends to be the year's high point for animal bites, as animals and people are outside and interacting more.
Local police reports showed a few notable incidents:
In June, when an officer responded to a call of a loose pit bull near Warren and Madison streets, residents said the pit bull had attacked another dog and bitten that dog's owner in the thigh.When the officer found the pit bull, it charged him.He
used a snare to fend the dog off, then shot it.