Guess What, Dog Bites Went *Up* After This City Banned Pit Bulls

Photo credit: Flickr/Christine Cowen

Sioux City, Iowa, has banned pit bulls since 2008 — a measure intended to promote public safety.

Eight years later, the Sioux City Journal reports that the number of reported dog bites has instead gone up:

Siouxland District Health statistics show that countywide, 137 dog bites were reported in 2015, up from 110 in 2007, the year before the ban was passed.

Photo credit: Flickr/David Scaglione
Photo credit: Flickr/David Scaglione

Other jurisdictions, like Toronto and Ireland, have found a similar trend — an increase in the overall number of dog bites after the implementation of breed-specific legislation.

There’s no clear explanation for why dog bites have gone up, in these circumstances. Perhaps the overall number of dogs has increased; perhaps more people are reporting dog bites.

Irish researcher Páraic Ó Súilleabháin has suggested that perhaps pit bans leave the impression that all the potentially dangerous dogs are off the street, which “will make it more likely for people to have a false sense of security or act differently around non-regulated breeds.”

What is totally clear is that breed-specific legislation does not make communities safer, and takes a huge toll on families and animals.

These bans are also expensive to enforce, and implicate serious constitutional problems — which is why groups like the American Bar Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and even the White House have come out against BSL, instead favoring breed-neutral dangerous dog regulations.

On top of all that, Sioux City’s pit bull ban is currently being challenged in federal court, on the grounds that it is “enforced in an arbitrary, inconsistent and discriminatory manner, bans animals that are not harmful and does not ban animals that do pose a risk to harm other animals or humans.”

Photo credit: Flickr/David Scaglione
Photo credit: Flickr/David Scaglione

Unfortunately, despite all this, the city’s lawmakers have said they intend to keep the pit bull in place for now.

“It’s absorbed a lot of council time,” Mayor Bob Scott told the Sioux City Journal.

Featured image credit: Flickr/Christine Cowen


Arin Greenwood

Arin Greenwood is an animal writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Previously, she was animal welfare editor at The Huffington Post. Arin is a former lawyer (J.D. from Columbia Law School, member of the New York Bar), life long animal lover, pit bull advocate, and devoted fan of cats and dogs who run for public office. Her first novel, Tropical Depression -- based on her five-odd, sometimes very odd, years living on a small island near Guam -- was published by teeny indie publisher Back Porch Books in 2011. Her second book, a comic young adult mystery called Save The Enemy, was published by Soho Teen in November 2013. Hello From Dog Island!, Arin's third book, will be published by Soho Teen in 2018. Know a shelter with a great, innovative program? Have another animal story to share? Get in touch at!


  1. Julie Wall says:

    Dear Pit bull Promotor,

    1) Pretty little girl killed by friend’s pit bulls. Pit-bulls are zero-mistake dogs and this family had to learn the hard way.:

    Bottom line is if these pit bulls were beagles or I could name 300 dog breeds. This child would be alive today. Breed Choice Matters for keeping our children safe.

    Pit bull-type dogs are responsible for 95% of severe attacks on people, pets and livestock. Please follow for one month:

    It’s amazing to watch Quebec cities adopt breed specific legislation to protect the public only after a few severe attacks. But here in the U.S., I read  everyday up to 5 severe pit bulls attacks a day. Public safety is achieved when we can decreased the pit bull population from 5% to under 1%. Our national humane groups and legislators have turned our communities into killing fields for pit bulls.

    2) No charges against the pit bull owner after woman received 34 staples to her head after after two pit bulls attacked her and her dog during an early-morning walk. :

    3) Brutal pit bull attack caught on camera.  There were bred for killing other dogs and that’s exactly what they do.

    4) Vicious, predatory, pit bull attack in South Bend, Indiana two years after city dumps pit bull ordinance. This was the 6th attack for the pit bull. The dog dragged a child out of a play area and INTO the pit bull owner’s home! South Bend Animal Control did NOT quarantine the dog at their shelter, they left pit bull at the owner’s home.
    5) Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said the pit bull attacked a man’s dog and the man shot the pit bull.
    Thanks for listening to my concerns,
    Julie Wall

    Supporter of National Pit Bull Victim Awareness

  2. Nancy T, says:

    Btw, Arin and her brother are multimillionaires who relentlessly work to allow pit bulls to keep killing and mutilating. They have no conscience or credibility with victims and witnesses of pit bull gruesome attacks. BSL protects citizens from their evil mission.

  3. Katlyn says:

    I live 45 minuets south of Sioux City, I have a mixed breed dog, with me working in Sioux city I tried to talk to animal control to let me register me dog in the city to lesser the commute before I started looking at places to live. All they did was look at my dog and told me “no he looks too much like a pit and can’t be registered in the city” while my dog was sitting there at my feet taking treats ever so gently from a stranger that happened to be in the lobby, I for one is very optimistic this ban to be taken to court again.

  4. Frances Coughlin says:

    Really shows governments are USING BSL to further an agenda of control rather than “public safety”.

    1. Annie Brown says:


      1. Benjamin Tuckerman says:

        When a government supports the viewpoints of a fraction of their constituency, that certainly is a knee-jerk agenda. And that’s why, thankfully, BSL is going the way of the VHS in intelligent cities. It is outmoded and useless. Does nothing to prevent dogbites. Illegal. Prejudicial. Oh, Canada, you’re becoming embarrassing with this.

  5. Nita Hemeter says:

    Have strict spay neuter laws and this would probably help the dog bite and attack rates decrease! Neutered dogs are less aggressive.

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