This session from Jim Crosby centers around his Doctoral research for the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in the Veterinary Forensics program. Jim’s primary research and work over the last 20 years has been in the field of fatal (and serious) dog attacks: behavior, circumstances, investigation and evidence. This program will discuss the results of that work, including the facts, figures, and information gained and published in Jim’s PhD dissertation, and (hopefully) pending book project.
Much of Jim’s research has been on-scene with Law Enforcement and Animal Control authorities, which is unique in the dog bite investigation world. Almost all of the prior researchers’ work was conducted remotely, based on investigators scanning media reports. Some “research” conducted in the past involved reviewing the sometimes hysterical reports of various advocacy groups. Objective, hands-on information was scarce, especially when it came to behavior. Jim, on the other hand, has conducted hands-on behavior evaluations on about 50 dogs after they have killed humans. The privilege of handling these dogs has given Jim detailed appraisals of the involved animals. He has also attended many victim autopsies and worked closely with other forensic scientists examining these cases.
The information presented in this session will range from what kind of dog is involved in fatalities, where and how they live, the profiles of both the attack behavior and the injuries inflicted, to geographic and socioeconomic concentration of incidents and surrounding circumstances. Training methods also matter and we will look at the limited information present that indicates what methods may have been used prior to such a serious breakage of the canine-human bond.
Specifics discussed will be the relationship between the number and type of bite wounds and the behaviors most commonly seen producing those patterns of injury. Categories Jim’s research has developed include both human-mediated and dog-mediated attack patterns. This presentation will break down those categories and inform trainers, behaviorists and others to more accurately decide whether the dog(s) involved were operating under human influence or neglect, or if the incident was truly an accident. No more should we have to hear only “the dog did it” !Determinations as to contributing causes can at least begin to be based on scientific analysis, not rumor or myth.