Saturday, January 29, 2005

Is a Dog More Effective for Home Defense Than a Gun?

Depends on whether or not you have a bulletproof dog.

All joking aside, it depends on the dog and the potential bad guys (and how they're armed) that your dog might encounter. There are other self defense situations besides home defense, of course.

In the course of an argument I was having with some gun-grabber types in Britain, one of them suggested that a home-defense dog would be a reasonable alternative to a gun. Since gun-grabbers trot out that old statistic about members of a household where there's a gun being more likely to die from gun injury than a potential burglar, I did some digging, and it seems that you are about a billion times more likely to be killed by a "dog in the home" than a potential burgler is. Here's a taste from this website
A survey by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta ("CDC") concludes that dogs bite nearly 2% of the U.S. population -- more than 4.7 million people annually. (Sacks JJ, Kresnow M, Houston B. Dog bites: how big a problem? Injury Prev 1996;2:52-4.) Almost 800,000 bites per year -- one out of every 6 -- are serious enough to require medical attention. Dog bites send nearly 334,000 victims to hospital emergency departments per year (914 per day).


The chances that the victim of a fatal dog attack will be a burgler are one in 177; the odds that it will be a child are 7 out of 10.


Dog attack victims in the U.S. suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses every year. ("Take the bite out of man's best friend." State Farm Times, 1998;3(5):2.) That $1 billion estimate might be low -- an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, in 1995, State Farm paid $70 million on 11,000 claims and estimated that the total annual insurance cost for dog bites was about $2 billion.
and so forth. Seems like having a "self defense dog" is pretty risky to me. And a dog isn't an inanimate piece of metal like a gun is. A gun won't go off unless somebody causes the trigger to be pulled. A dog can potentially do what it wants, when it wants, with no outside input. Now I'm sure they'll ban "self defense dogs" in Britain pretty soon, or at least require justification for owning a dog of any kind, and "self defense" will not be deemed reasonable justification.

Har har.

Update: Of course, my "a resident is more likely to be killed by a dog in the home than an intruder is" statistic is totally stupid, since the absolute risk is pathetically small. The same is true for a gun in the home. The point was only to compare two stupid statistics. However, the risk of injury due to a dog in the home is significant.

Note: This post comes from an argument I was having over at Tim Lambert's website.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice legwork, Carnaby.

-- jed

1/30/2005 9:26 PM  
Blogger carnaby said...

thanks jed.

1/30/2005 11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this info sharing. It is a really interesting post. In my home country, dog as home defense is really effective as it is very hard to get gun easily. Most of the cases here, the potential bad guy would not use any armed weapon also. :D

1/31/2008 6:55 AM  

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