Several organizations marked National Dog Bite Prevention Week in April to draw attention to the need for preventing dog bites, especially those involving children.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week was marked by organizations including the American Humane Society and American Veterinary Medical Association. The primary focus of the week was drawing attention to the fact that while dogs are beloved companions, they are animals, and any animal can bite.
Dog bites are much more common than most of us may realize. Here are some very common facts about dog bites that you may not be aware of:
- About 4.5 million Americans are victims of dog bites every year.
- Approximately 50% of these victims are children.
- About 334, 000 dog bites every year require hospitalization.
- A dog’s breed is not necessarily telling as to whether there is a risk of it biting you. A dog’s tendency to bite is much more likely to be dependent on its history of bites or aggression. Even smaller, seemingly well-behaved breeds can bite. Having said that, certain types of breeds like pit bulls seem to be much more likely to be named in a dog bite lawsuit. That could be due to the fact that attacks involving pit bulls are typically much more likely to result in serious injuries.
- Many dog bite victims, especially children with horrific injuries, require extensive treatment.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that dog bites are much more dangerous for children, than whooping cough, measles, and mumps combined.
- Dog bites are also much more likely to injure children than playground accidents, bicycle accidents, ATV crashes, and skateboard accidents.
- Treatment for dog bites costs more than a billion dollars every year.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that dog owners reduce the chances of their pets being involved in bites by practicing smart dog ownership. This includes making sure the dog is healthy and investing in the socialization of their pets. Good socialization and training of a dog is even more important just before summer when so many dog owners take their pets walking. Socialization helps animals feel comfortable in different situations and around different types of people. Use a leash on your dog when you are in public, and invest in the training and regular exercise of your animal in order to help prevent dog bites.
If you have children, teach them the right ways to behave around dogs. Strange animals should not be petted, and never allow your child to pet a dog that is not with its owner. Children should be taught never to reach through a fence to touch a dog, or to disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog bite, it is important to speak with an attorney who is experienced in handling dog bite claims. Dog bites can lead to serious injuries that can be expensive to treat. Your claim should include damages for all medical expenses, including cost of hospitalizations, medications, therapy, and cosmetic surgery.