When you think of a dog bite attack, you might think of the terribly horrific stories of Pitt Bull packs we sometimes see on the front pages of the newspaper, but fatal trauma caused by dog bites can also come from a friendly neighborhood canine. You might even be surprised to find out that 61% of dog bites occur in the home. Another surprising statistic shows that 77% of dogs who attack are owned by the family or a friend of the dog attack victim.
The most current figures on fatal dog attacks show 38 deaths in the United States for 2012 from vicious dogs. Pit Bulls were responsible for 61% of the deaths. Sadly, statistics show that most dog bite victims are children under the age of 10.
Dog ownership information for 2012 shows that family dog attacks comprised 58% of fatal attacks. Roughly one-third, or 32% of all dog bite fatality victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog’s owner when the fatal attack occurred.
The first 5 months of 2013 show Pit Bulls inflicted 93 percent of all fatal dog attacks. This is well above the average of 60 percent from 2005 to 2012. While Pit Bull owners will protest and sing the praises of their own wonderful Pit, statistics show victims of attacks are most often mauled by this breed.
While the face is the most common area of a bite, it is important to know that there is a distinction to be made between a dog bite and a mauling. Commonly held beliefs about dog bites are being addressed as a way of educating the public. A poodle does not bite the same way a Rottweiler does.
There are 3 categories of dog bites injuries:
- Dog Bite – most common injury, generally handled in an emergency room, where the patient is treated and released.
- Severe Dog Bite – Requires hospitalization. These are considered to be a serious public health and security concern.
- Dog Mauling – This is a sustained attack, where the dog refuses to stop, intending to maim or kill. Trauma level medical care is required for survival.
Over 600 jurisdictions currently have regulations regarding dangerous breeds of dogs. These breed specific laws, ( known as BSL) are an ordinance locally crafted which covers certain breeds. While originally used to regulate Pit Bulls, many BSLs now include and identify other breeds as having a genetic propensity to attack, and are intended to prevent an attack, as opposed to punishing an owner after an attack.
If you or a loved one are a victim of dog injuries, you must take certain steps. Make sure you can identify the dog, as you will want to be able to determine if rabies are an issue. Immediately seek appropriate medical care. File a dog bite report with the local municipality or department who handles canine issue, it varies locally. Take pictures of your injuries, the dog and the area where the dog bite attack occurred. Contact a dog bite attorney as soon as possible. There are complex and difficult legal issues which may be involved, and you need the guidance and care of the proper dog attack lawyer.