According to Medicine.net, not only are there 4.5 million dog bites each year, but they currently account for 90% of all animal bites every year. You may find yourself thinking, “Aren’t dogs man’s best friend?,” or “My dog wouldn’t bite anyone,” while both statements are true in most cases, there are certainly exceptions. There is a major misconception shared among the general public that stray, or wild dogs, are more likely to bite people than domesticated dogs. When in fact, most dog bites occur between the dog owner and their pet. Moreover, with nearly 80 million dogs living in the United States, there is a potential for a dog bite accident to occur in many places such as parks, residential homes, and pedestrian sidewalks. We hope that with an increased knowledge on dog bites, individuals will be more careful around all animals, and accidents will decrease in frequency.
Dog Bites In America: Facts & Figures
Even highly trained dogs can present dangers to humans if they are scared or feel threatened. There have been dog bite incidents for dogs of all ages, ranging from young puppies to aging lifelong companions. In order to explore the frequency of dog bites in greater depth, we believe it to be necessary to analyze dog bites from a statistical standpoint. The following information is intended to answer questions such as: How common are dog bites in America?, in Pennsylvania?, Who are the most likely victims?, & What are the most common injuries?
How Frequently Do Dog Bites Occur?
Dog bites occur each and every day, in fact in 2003 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study based on 2001 data, that indicated that nearly 370,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for non-fatal dog bite injuries. Of those emergency room patients, 42 % were under the age of 14, with the highest frequency of dog bite victims being males from ages 5 to 9. The results of this 2003 study indicated that over 1,000 U.S. citizens visit the emergency room for a dog bite injury treatment each day. An updated 2015 report from Medicine.net claimed that over 900,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care each year, which equates to an average of nearly 2,500 ER patients per day. This sharp increase in ER patients due to dog bites is extremely alarming, as over 1,500 more patients visited the emergency room per day in 2015, compared to 2001. The average hospital stay for a dog bite in 2010 was $ 18,200, which is nearly 50 % greater than the average injury-related hospital visit.
- Over 27,000 dog bite victims per year require reconstructive surgery
- There were 31 dog bite fatalities in 2013
- Dog bite hospitalizations were highest in the Northeast of all U.S. regions
- Dog bite ED visits were second highest in the Northeast, second only to the Midwest
- Dog bites occur at least once every 75 seconds in the United States
- State Farm Insurance data from 2013 regarding dog bite insurance claims, indicated that Pennsylvania had the 5th most insurance claims among all states for dog bites.
There is insufficient data on dog bites per U.S. state, however, due to the statistics above regarding the Northeast region and State Farm’s data, we can conclude that Pennsylvania citizens are among the most at-risk individuals for dog bites in the United States.
Who Is Most Likely To Fall Victim?
- 50% of dog bite victims are children between the ages of 5 to 9
- Men are bitten more frequently than women
- From 2005 to 2015, children ages 0 to 2 years old made up 28% of all fatal dog bite victims, nearly twice the total of the second highest age group.
- Individuals with two or more dogs in their home are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs in the home.
There are several attributes that individuals can exhibit that increase the chance of a dog bite. For instance, as highlighted by the various statistics, children are the most at-risk age group for dog bite injuries and fatalities. Additionally, men are significantly more likely to be involved in a dog bite than women are. Furthermore, dog owners are the most at-risk individuals for dog bites, especially if they own 2 or more dogs. Citizens who live in rural areas are more likely to be bitten than citizens who live in urban areas. In fact, rural citizens are 4 times more likely for a dog bite ED visit, and 3 times more likely for a dog bite hospitalization.
Most Common Injuries
In 2008, DogBite.org conducted a study evaluating the most prevalent injuries among dog bite ED and hospitalization victims across the U.S. The following list focuses on the most common injuries to dog bite victims in 2008:
- Skin, or subcutaneous tissue infections (43.2 % of victims)
- Open wounds of extremities, such as an individual’s hand or foot (22.1 % of victims)
- Open wounds to an individual’s head, neck or torso (10.5 % of victims)
- Upper limb fracture (5.3 % of victims)
- Connective tissue diseases, such as Polymyositis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc (2.1 % of victims)
Other potential dog bite related injuries include various crushing injuries, lower limb fractures, and rare cases may feature additional diseases not listed above. Dog bite related fatalities are extremely rare. Dogbite.org indicated that from 2013 to 2015 there was an average of 36 dog bite fatalities each year. Although dog bite related fatalities are extremely rare, they still can occur and are most prevalent among children.
Contact An Attorney
All U.S. citizens have a 1 in 50 chance of being bit by a dog each year, even if you aren’t a victim, it is likely that you know someone who has been bitten. We encourage all victims to contact our law firm and explore how we may best assist you and your family during your time of need. Our attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means that victims will not pay a dime towards a lawyers fee unless we secure them a settlement or winning court verdict. The team of lawyers at Dog Bite Lawyer Philly are proud to offer victims relentless service, expert legal advice, and an extensive pool of valuable resources, which they believe will best serve all dog bite victims. Take the first step in securing necessary financial compensation by contacting our 24/7 dog bite help hotline today.