Are Dog Attacks Common in the United States?

Categories: Dog Attacks

wound from dog attack

In the United States, dog bites happen more frequently than you might realize. While you do not hear about them on the local news, a bite or vicious attack could happen in your neighborhood or even a few blocks away.

In fact, in the U.S. it is estimated that every day 1,000 people need emergency room treatment for dog injuries. Per year, 9,500 Americans are hospitalized from dog attack injuries. In total, 4.5 to 4.7 million citizens are bitten by dogs each year per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 20 to 30 of those incidents result in death.

Understanding the Statistics for Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas

Dog bites are traumatic, sometimes vicious, and can be highly expensive for the victim, dog’s owner, and insurance companies.

Here are just some statistics regarding how frequent these attacks occur and the damage:

  • In 2016, homeowners insurance liability claims for dog attacks cost more than $600 million and accounted for over a third of the claims filed for the year says the III.
  • In 2016, United States Postal Service employees experienced over 6,750 attacks, which was 200 more than the previous year. Los Angeles, California had the highest volume of postal worker attacks.
  • Each year in the United States there are an estimated 4.5 million dog bites. Furthermore, one out of five of those bites is likely to become infected.
  • 28,000 people required reconstructive surgery in 2015 because of injuries from a dog attack.
  • Between 1993 and 2008 the number of hospital stays for dog attacks increased by 86%.
  • A dog bite occurs every 75 seconds in the U.S. and more than 1,000 people each day require hospital care for these attacks.

Dog Bites Can be Fatal

A nip from a puppy might not seem dangerous, but when that puppy grows up and can attack an adult, the injuries can be catastrophic. Bigger dogs who attack small children can lead to permanent injuries, if not a fatality. In fact, the number of dog attack-related deaths in the United States is astounding, and often preventable.

  • In 2017, Pit Bull breeds contributed to 74 percent of the total number of dog attack-related deaths in the United States, which is the highest on record for that breed. It resulted in 29 total deaths.
  • The deaths in 2017 were ages 21 years or older for 62 percent of cases, and out of the total adults killed by dogs in 2017, the Pit Bull breed was responsible for 88 percent of those deaths.

More than 50 countries regulate pit bull ownership and other dangerous dog breeds. In fact, more than 1,000 cities in the United States now have regulations about pit bulls and specific military bases do not allow pit bulls on the premises.

Why Do Dogs Attack?

Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend, but it seems from the statistics they can be far short of that. So, what makes a dog that appears loveable attack another person or another animal? Veterinarians agree the most common reasons for these attacks are:

  • The dog is scared or feels threatened;
  • The dog is ill or is startled;
  • The dog bites out of stress;
  • The dog nips or bites during play, but becomes overly excited;
  • The dog is trying to protect themselves, owners, or their puppies.

Which Dogs are the Most Dangerous?

By 2017, there were 89.7 million dogs estimated to be in the United States. While not all of them are dangerous, specific breeds have been pinpointed as having a higher chance of attacking or causing severe injury. Because of these characterizations, these breeds may be regulated in your city, prohibited entirely, or you may have to pay extra for homeowners’ insurance. Some homeowners’ insurance policies will refuse to cover these breeds as well.

Breeds most likely to attack or that have bitten the most include:

  • Chihuahua
  • German Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Bull Terrier
  • Papillion
  • Pekingese
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Bulldog

Believe it or not, a Pit Bull does not have the strongest bite out of all the breeds in the United States. Instead, a Kangal and Doberman Pinscher has a higher bite pound per square inch rating than the American Pitbull. Even a German Shepherd has a higher bite PSI than the Pit Bull. However, Pit Bulls are a more aggressive breed, and when trained improperly, they can be easily provoked and attack.

Where Dogs Bite the Most

When you review the hospital admissions for the country, you find distinct numbers pointing to where dogs tend to bite:

  • 43 percent of victims are hospitalized for skin and underlying tissue infections from their wounds;
  • 22 percent will have wounds to the legs or arms – extremities are the easiest for a dog to latch on to;
  • 10.5 percent will have wounds to the neck, torso, and head;
  • Remaining numbers had injuries including bone fractures and blood poisoning.

Where Do the Attacks Occur?

Dog attacks typically occur on the dog’s property or within the general vicinity. For example, a vicious dog may escape their backyard and attack someone within the same neighborhood or a few blocks from their house. Most of these attacks occur by animals who are part of the family, a neighbor’s dog or a friend’s dog – about 77 percent.

Injured by Vicious Dog? You Have Rights

If you or someone you love has been bitten or viciously attacked by a dog, you have rights to not only hold the dog’s owner accountable, but receive compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

My name is Jeffrey H. Penneys, and I would like to help you and your loved ones recover after a vicious attack. Whether you know the dog or not, you have the right to seek compensation. Schedule a free consultation with my office today by calling me at 800-465-8795 (office), 215-771-0430 (cell), or by contacting me online.