Facts & Statistics About Dog Bites
Dog bites are an incredibly common occurrence. 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States, and over 800,000 of them require medical treatment. This breaks down to a person being bitten by a dog every 75 seconds. In 2012, 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery following a dog bite. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, almost 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery in 2018 because of dog bites.
Which Dogs are Most Likely to Bite?
Big or small, any dog with teeth is capable of biting. Even the friendliest of dogs under ordinary circumstances might bite a person if they feel threatened. DogsBite.org compiled dog bite data for 2019 and found that the top breeds linked to fatal dog bites that year were pit bulls, mixed breed dogs, rottweilers, boxers, Australian cattle dogs, and German shepherds. Pit bulls alone caused 69% of fatal dog bites while mixed breed dogs caused 13% of fatalities, rottweilers caused 8%, and boxers, Australian cattle dogs and German shepherds each caused 4% of dog bite fatalities.
However, just because a breed isn’t commonly linked to dog bite fatalities, that doesn’t mean they don’t have reputations for biting. When you look at the statistics for all dog bites, not just fatal ones, you’ll see plenty of the usual suspects like pit bulls, rottweilers, and German shepherds. But you might be surprised to see many small breeds like chihuahuas, dachshunds, and cocker spaniels. According to one study by the Coalition for Living Safely With Dogs and the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, veterinarians are more likely to be bitten by a chihuahua than any other breed of dog. Dachshunds may be small, but they have big reputations for aggression. Studies have shown that 1 in 5 dachshunds have either bitten or attempted to bite other strangers or other dogs and 1 in 12 have snapped at or tried biting their owners.
Where Do Dog Bite Injuries Tend to Occur?
When a person is bitten by a dog, the most likely place they are to be bitten is their hands. Hands are bitten in 35% of all dog bite cases. 23% of dog bites happen on legs, 19% happen above the neck, and 15% happen on arms.
Familiar vs. Strange Dogs: Which is More Likely to Bite?
Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to be bitten by a friend or family member’s dog than you are by a stranger’s dog. According to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh,77% of all dog bite victims are bitten by dogs that belonged to a friend or family member. The III reports that over 50% of all dog bites occur while the dog is on its owner’s property.
The Costs of Dog Bites
Dog bites are not only very common, they are also very expensive. The III reports the average cost of dog bite claims in 2019 was $44,760, an increase of 14.7% from 2018. Overall, the average cost of dog bite claims has increased 134% between 2003 and 2019 due in part to growing costs of medical treatment.
Help After a Dog Bite
Dog bites can be a deeply traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, we’re here to help. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer who can help answer your questions and work with you to get the compensation you need. Contact us to find out how we can help you.