Dog bites and animal attacks are becoming more common because of the increase in dog ownership and interaction between people and dogs. Many owners are ignorant of proper care and training of dogs. Further, there are social trends towards training and keeping more dangerous animals by inexperienced owners and using aggressive dogs for self-protection or as status symbols.
Dogs can attack for a wide range of reasons. Some dogs are trained for protection, including violent response. Other dogs become aggressive because of owner neglect or abuse, and still others grow irritable as they age, or due to certain medical conditions. Owners often unwittingly create circumstances where others are placed in danger from their dog.
In each of these cases, the owner can and should be held liable when their pet attacks another person and causes them to suffer a serious personal injury.
Dog Bite Statistics
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a wound caused by a dog bite. Statistics for the United States show that the number of fatal dog attacks has risen each decade. The vast majority of bites occur when people are engaged in a regular activity in an appropriate place with a dog. The majority of bites (61%) occur close to the dog owner’s home, or the victim’s home.
Around 77% of dog bite injuries are caused by a “friendly” dog that the victim knows before the attack. It is impossible to predict what might provoke a dog to bite. They may feel threatened or panicked, or may be in pain.
The Seriousness of the Problem
- Around 4.7 million dog bites occur every year in the United States.
- Approximately 800,000 dog bites require medical care
- Around 1,008 dog bite victims are treated in hospital emergency rooms every day.
- Over 60% of all dog bite victims are children.
- The most severe dog bite injuries occur in children under 10 years old.
- 77% of all dog bite injuries occur to the face, resulting in around 44,000 facial injuries every year
- Statistics for the United States show that the average number of fatal dog attacks was 17 in the 1980s, 20 in the 1990s, and is now around 35-40 per year.
- Seriously injured dog bite victims remain in the hospital for an average of 4.2 days.
It is also important to note that around 92% of fatal dog attacks involve male dogs – 94% of which were not neutered. Additionally, around 25% of fatal dog attacks involve chained dogs. Most victims knew the dog that bit them before the attack occurred.
Children are Most at Risk of Dog Bite Injuries
Children are much more likely to be the victims of dog bites than adults. According to research, the highest rate of dog bite injuries occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old, and unsupervised infants were at a much higher risk to be killed by a dog than an adult.
Even more unfortunate is the knowledge that 65% of dog bites in children occur to the neck and head. Disfigurement or scarring is a common consequence of severe dog bites, often leading to serious emotional and psychological suffering. Many more children are not as fortunate and end up dying from their injuries. Seventy (70%) percent of all dog-bite fatalities occur in children under the age of 10.
Types of Dog Bite Injuries and Damages
Dog bites can inflict several types of injuries, including:
- Crush wounds
- Fractured bones
- Excessive blood loss
When these injuries occur in the face, they often result in disfigurement. This, combined with the terror of being mauled by a dog, can result in long-term psychological trauma. Dog bite victims deserve compensation for psychological treatment, as well as plastic surgery to repair disfigurement as much as possible.
In addition to these damages, injured dog bite victims can pursue compensation for general medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, and lost income. Our experienced Maryland dog bite attorneys at the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC can evaluate your claim to determine the type and amount of damages you are entitled to.
Dog Breeds Most Prone to Attack
Any breed of dog can suddenly attack a person unprovoked, but certain breeds have become infamous for their aggressiveness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top five dog breeds in terms of dog attacks and fatalities:
- Pit bulls – This category includes a number of breeds, such as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Each of these dogs were historically bred to be powerful fighters, and they have very strong jaws.
- Rottweilers – Together, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls are responsible for around 60% of all dog bite-related deaths. Rottweilers are extremely intelligent, but if an owner fails to train them properly, they can become disobedient and aggressive.
- Siberian Huskies – Since huskies were originally bred for work, they did not socialize often with humans, which means this large breed tends to have behavioral issues.
- Saint Bernards – One of the largest dog breeds, Saint Bernards can be excellent family dogs with good training, but their size also causes them to sometimes be dominant. Poor training can lead to an aggressive attitude.
- German Shepherds – Most popular as a police dog, German Shepherds are also very intelligent and often friendly. However, their natural instincts and jaw strength can make them equally dangerous in certain circumstances.
If you or one of your loved ones has been injured by a dog bite or animal attack, please contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Maryland dog bite lawyers.
We represent injured dog bite victims throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.