Man’s best friend is a nickname given to dogs is phrase that dates back to the 19th century when dogs were first starting to be seen in a positive light. Before the phrase came about dogs were more commonly used for hunting and guarding which is why they were described as vicious, ravening, or watchful.
Although dogs are now commonly referred to as loyal and loving companions, some dogs cannot escape their history. According to the Center for Disease Control these loving loyal furry friends bite more than 4.7 million people each year.
A study of dog bite claims by State Farm in 2011 reveal that Georgia produced more than 120 claims in 2009 costing more than $17.1 million.
Dog Bite Statistics
There are an estimated 70 million dogs living in U.S households and each year thousands are injured by dogs they know and others by dogs they are not familiar with.
The following are some eye-opening statistics on dog bites from the National Canine Foundation, Center for Disease Control, and Human Society of the United States
- Each year 800,000 Americans seek treatment for dog bites
- 386,000 people require medical treatment for dog bites
- On average 16 people die each year due to serious dog bites
- 50% of dog bites involve children under the age of 12
- 82% of dog bite injuries treated in an emergency room involved children under the age of 15
- The rates of dog bites are highest among children between the ages of 5 and 9
- Children are bitten more commonly on the head and neck
- It is estimated that 25% of fatal dog confrontations involved chained dogs
- Each year the insurance industry pays for than $1 billion out in dog bite claims
- Boys under the age of 15 are bitten more often than girls in the same age group
- Pitbulls, German Shepherds and Rottweilers caused more than 120 fatalities between 1979 and 1998
- Smaller dogs such as West Highland Terriers and Cocker Spaniels were the cause of a couple of deaths between 1979 and 1998 as well
- A study by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality revealed that the average cost of a hospital visit related to a dog bite was over $18,000
- The most common place a dog bit was the arm/hand and the leg/foot
It is important to note that any dog can bite no matter how small or gentile a dog may appear. Do not approach an unknown dog and if you are around a dangerous breed, make sure you know some ways to avoid being a victim of a dog bite.
What To Do If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
Being bitten by a dog can be frightening, especially if the attack lasts longer than a few seconds. After being attacked by a dog, if the owner it present, make sure you exchange contact information with the owner.
Proof of vaccination is important and an owner should be able to provide that to the victim. If the injury is severe such as gash or puncture, seek medical treatment right away. If you fail to clean a wound or have it properly closed it could lead to infection. Make sure you contact the dog’s veterinarian to ensure the dog has received their rabies vaccination.
Finally, contact animal care and control to file a report, this could help prevent future bites from happening. You may also want to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal options.