Dogs are often considered “man’s best friend,” but what happens when these furry companions became ferocious foes? Every day, individuals fall victim to debilitating and unprovoked dog attacks. Even seemingly minor dog bites can cause serious complications or fatalities. There are 4.7 million people bitten by dogs each year, with 800,000 Americans that seek medical attention for dog bites each year. Even more startling, half of these figures are afflicted children.
Dog’gone! Candid Canine Facts
While most dog bites are not fatal, serious injuries can still occur. Of those bitten, nearly 20% require professional medical treatment. Hospital stays for dog bite victims are approximately 50% more expensive than stays for other injuries. The average cost for dog bite victims is $18,200 per stay, and the injuries being treated included infections, open wounds and fractures. Believe it or not, 31,000 people per year require reconstructive surgery subsequent to non-fatal bites.
Who’s Getting Bitten?
Sex, age and environment seem to play a role in who is most at risk. An alarming number of non-fatal dog bites occurs among children. Approximately 42% of dog bite victims were under the age of 15. The most common non-fatal injuries were bites to the arms and hands at 45% and nearly 26% of injuries were to the legs and feet. The vast majority of dog bite victims were in the younger demographics. Just over 73% of victims going to the ER were under the age of 45, and 51% of those in the hospital were younger than 45.
While the 23% risk of head and neck bites are the least common injuries among all age groups, nearly 65% of children’s injuries occurred in these regions of the body.
Surprisingly, the majority of people who frequent the ER for dog bites are men. Men were treated in emergency rooms at a rate of 110 per 100,000, with women not far behind at a rate of 98 per 100,000.
Dog Bites by Demographic
Statistics show that most dog bites occur in rural areas. Emergency room visits for dog bites in rural areas are four times more frequent than dog bites in urban settings. Approximately three times as many rural victims were admitted to hospitals than city victims.
Bites by Breed
Although all breed of dogs are capable of biting a person in a given situation, some breeds are statistically proven as more dangerous than others. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities each year; about 0.0002% of the total number of people bitten. A compilation of statistics originating from the United States and Canada between 1982 and 2011 shows that certain breeds of dogs are more prone to biting people than other breeds.
The three breeds responsible for the vast majority of bites are pit bulls, rottweilers and wolf hybrids. These breeds were responsible for approximately 77% of all dog attacks, additionally accountable for 81% of attacks among adults.
Furthermore, these breeds were responsible for 68% of all fatal dog bites in the U.S. and Canada.
Oddly enough, the breeds that caused the most fatalities were not the same three breeds responsible for most injuries. Full-blooded pit bulls caused the most fatalities during the time period of the studies, with 207 deaths. Rottweilers were second at 78 fatalities, and huskies came in third with 22 Finally, wolf hybrids ranked in fourth with a total of 19 deaths. Other breeds responsible for fatal bites were Bullmastiffs, German shepherds, Akitas, chows and Doberman Pinschers.
Getting a dog owner to accept injury accountability can be an arduous task. In some cases, the victim of a dog bite may have provoked the attack, but when the role of responsibility is skewed, an experienced personal injury attorney can is available for assessment. An experienced attorney can help determine the accountable parties, and assist with the financial compensation process for any damages incurred.
As the following infographic demonstrates, dog bites can prove dangerous, and at times, fatal. In severe circumstances, legal assistance should be pursued in order to settle an injury claim. Attorney services can provide a free consultation, and upon case acceptance, the fees are often on a contingency basis. This means no upfront costs are required to initiate proceedings, and the attorney does not get paid unless the victim receives a settlement or judgment for the sustained injuries.