Dog owners…restrain your pets, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). The statistics are frightening how a seemingly innocent dog can instantly contribute to a public health nightmare by biting an unassuming passerby, neighbor, friend, child, or visitor. As of September 5, 2014, the CDC estimated that in the United States alone, dogs are biting around 4.5 million Americans annually. Half of these victims, alarmingly, are children. While not all dog bite-related injuries require medical attention, one out of five people or about 885,000 victims nationwide require some form of medical treatment from a canine attack on an annual basis. This has risen since we last reported in 2013 that the CDC figures were 700,000 people that required medical treatment annually. That averages to about 1000 emergency room visits per day due to dog bite related incident. Depending on the type of injury, many people require complex surgeries. In 2012, 27,000 cases of reconstructive surgeries were reported.
A recent report compiled by Animals 24-7, (based on data from press reports compiled between 1982 through 2014), reported that the dog breeds which produced the most bodily harm, including deaths, maimings, or injuries requiring extensive medical treatment in descending order, were pit bulls, rottweilers, huskies, wolf hybrids, bullmastiffs, german shepards, pit bull mixes, akitas, chows, dobermans, unidentified breeds, boxers, and german shepard-mixes. The report emphasized that while many states have implemented the “one free bite” rule, which results in a warning to the owner and that a dog is killed upon the second bite, nowhere could Animals 24-7 find legislation specific to addressing these above mentioned lethal breeds. The report also highlighted that the particular breed of the dog was far more significant than the temperament of the dog in that that any other dog (belonging to the non-lethal breed category) having an off day may result in a bite, whereas the “dangerous” breeds identified in the report were more than likely predisposed to maim or kill people.
The CDC warns that children between the ages of five to nine and males are most susceptible to being bitten by dogs. The CDC in conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association task force have outlined several guidelines for preventing dog bites which include: researching the right type of breed of dog before bringing it home in conjunction with the local animal shelter or breeder; working with veterinarians and trainers to properly train the dog; educating all local leashing laws including dangerous dog ordinances; licensing dogs, and controlling free-roaming and unrestrained dogs.
Despite taking all precautions and educating you and your family about dog bite prevention, dog bite victims find themselves injured, hurt, indebted due to medical treatment. Going it alone against the dog owner or their insurance company is simply not the best option for dog bite victims. Insurance companies may offer very little by way of settlement, which may not fully compensate the victim nor prevent the dog from attacking another innocent bystander.
If you are your loved one is bitten by a dog, please contact Lundy’s team of Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your legal rights immediately at 1(800) LUNDYLAW®. If you prefer, you may also complete a free initial consultation form at your convenience. We have helped countless victims of dog bite injuries during our more than 50 years of practice. Based on our experience we can quickly ascertain all relevant information from you to begin building a strong case against the vicious dog and negligent dog owner.