Why Dog Bites Increased During COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic grew, people were eager to learn more about what they could do to protect themselves and their loved ones. We all heard about how important it was to wash our hands, wear masks, and maintain good social distance when we do have to leave the house. But one effect of the outbreak which many people did not anticipate was an increase of dog bites.
In many cities throughout the United States, such as Los Angeles and Denver, officials reported an increase in dog bite cases compared to this time in 2019. So, what is it about the pandemic that might have caused this increase?
Children Spending More Time at Home
Dog bites are something that can truly happen to anyone, no matter what their age is. However, young children account for a disproportionately large percentage of all dog bite victims. And with schools closed for the year and other activities for kids also being cancelled, kids are spending more time at home with their pets.
Typically, dog bites tend to happen more frequently on weekends and during the summer months for the simple reason that those are times when kids aren’t in school and have more opportunities to be around dogs. Even as restrictions ease here in Michigan as we head into summer, the shelter-in-place order meant there was an extended window of time for kids to have a higher-than-average time around dogs.
More At-Home Deliveries
With many brick-and-mortar store locations closed due to stay-at-home orders, people started relying more heavily on online shopping and other delivery services to get the things they need. Unfortunately, since letter carriers, package deliverers, and drivers for services like GrubHub, Doordash, and Instacart need to come directly onto other peoples’ properties to be able to do their jobs, they can face an increased risk of dog bites.
In the case of postal workers, for example, dog bites have long been a significant occupational hazard. According to the USPS, 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2018. That same year, Detroit was ranked at number 11 on USPS’s list of cities with the most postal worker dog attacks. Dogs can get very territorial and may view a delivery person as a threat. In some cases, dogs have even broken through screen doors and windows to attack letter carriers.
More Time Spent Outside
Even when stay-at-home orders were in full effect, people were still allowed to head outside to walk their dogs, ride their bikes, and walk around the neighborhood for exercise and many people were happy to take those opportunities for a little fresh air. On any given afternoon, you’d be very likely to see people out and about in many neighborhoods. Biking in particular saw a growth in popularity in many cities around the country.
But with more people spending time outside for fresh air and exercise, it became more likely that people would encounter dogs along the way. Lots of people have been out walking their dogs or taking their dogs out with them while they work in the yard or relax on their porches. But if those dogs weren’t being properly restrained, other walkers and cyclists can easily become dog bite victims.
There’s never an ideal time to be attacked by a dog, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, dog bites made a difficult situation even worse. If you were attacked by a dog during the outbreak, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a dog bite lawyer for help with your case. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer highly experienced in handling Michigan dog bite cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
Image: iStock / Yaraslau Saulevich