A “perfect storm” is used to describe a hypothetical hurricane that results in the worst possible damage imaginable. Author Sebastian Junger coined the term after learning about the confluence of three different weather-related phenomenon called the “perfect situation.” A “perfect storm” typically strikes once in a century — truly a rare event. We believe Randall Lockwood, a senior vice-president of the ASPCA, was the first to use the term “perfect storm” to describe a fatal pit bull mauling. He did so in a 2006 article by Malcom Gladwell. Lockwood’s presumptions have a basis in fatal pit bull attacks from the 1980s and have little if any relevance today. Further, the rate of fatal pit bull attacks in the United States today occurs on average every 19 days. Hardly once in a century.

“A fatal dog attack is not just a dog bite by a big or aggressive dog,” Lockwood went on. “It is usually a perfect storm of bad human-canine interactions—the wrong dog, the wrong background, the wrong history in the hands of the wrong person in the wrong environmental situation. I’ve been involved in many legal cases involving fatal dog attacks, and, certainly, it’s my impression that these are generally cases where everyone is to blame. You’ve got the unsupervised three-year-old child wandering in the neighborhood killed by a starved, abused dog owned by the dogfighting boyfriend of some woman who doesn’t know where her child is. It’s not old Shep sleeping by the fire who suddenly goes bonkers. Usually there are all kinds of other warning signs.” – Randall Lockwood

After the publication of Gladwell’s piece, other Nutters began using the phrase.

Dr. Randy Lockwood of HSUS called it “…a perfect storm…”, and I have to agree. A fatal dog attack is the result of a conglomeration of many things, all joining up in one perfect storm that goes directly against thousands of years of physical and social evolution.  – Jim Crosby (See: The Crosby Analysis)
She added that the dog’s breed isn’t the most important factor. “Usually it’s a perfect storm situation, with a lot of things that lead up to the attack,” Hetts said. – Suzanne Hetts
Extensive research and investigation has conclusively identified the ownership/management practices that are at the root of the rare, but perfect storm when a dog becomes dangerous. – 00kat00
Pit bulls already are known to be an aggressive breed, and the tethering makes them more defensive of their turf, experts said. “It was a perfect storm,” said Marti Ryan, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Services. – Marti Ryan
In many cases, the dogs that end up killing have a history of bites prior to the kill, and in some cases, there are NO prior offenses of aggression and the perfect storm of events has formed and thus, an unexpected bite or fatal bite. – Leigh Siegfried