Dog Bite Statistics

Dog bites are a much larger problem than most people realize. Approximately 1% of emergency room visits are due to dog bites. A more staggering number is that nearly 5 million people per year are victims of dog bites in the United States, which accounts for almost 2% of the population. What is most disturbing about these statistics is that the majority of these victims are children. The most commonly bitten group is boys between the ages of 5 and 9. However, there have been numerous incidents involving older and younger children. Unfortunately, in the case of younger children, many dog bite incidents have led to death. This has even been the case with small dogs weighing less than 5 pounds.

Dog bits have increased considerably in the past 10 years. For instance, the average annual total for dog bite deaths throughout the 1990s was 17. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the totals for dog bite deaths were 23, 30, and 33, respectively. While it’s possible for any breed of dog to attack a human, the most common breeds involved are pit bulls and rottweilers.

Since 1982, 74% of all dog bite incidents have involved either a pit bull or rottweiler. These two breeds are also responsible for 65% of dog bite deaths and 68% of dog bite maimings. What makes these numbers more frightening than they appear is that these were the first signs of aggressive behavior in 68% of the dogs. Another interesting statistic is that 50% of dog bite incidents take place on the owner’s property. And 77% of dog bite victims know the dog. The dog’s owner is often a friend or relative.

There has been much debate whether or not the behavior of pit bulls and rottweilers is related to nature or nurture. It’s highly likely that there is something within these two breeds that makes them more aggressive. On the other hand, it has been proven that these breeds – regardless of their demeanor – can be changed with the proper love and attention. That being the case, it’s imperative that they receive the proper training and care. These breeds might have more potential for aggressive behavior than others, but it’s important to remember that any breed can attack at any time.

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