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Animal bites: Who is most likely to be bitten by a dog?

According to statistics, there are around 70 million dogs in this country, with a substantial number of those in Wisconsin. Since dog bites comprise the largest percentage of total animal bites, there is a potential risk for injury since so many homes have dogs in them. In fact, there are around five million dog bites every year. While roughly half of those incidents involve children, experts have analyzed the specifics of the injuries and have offered suggestions on how to avoid them.

Researchers reviewed data gathered from 2007 and 2014 from the National Trauma Data Bank. They discovered almost 8,000 dog bites for individuals 17 years old and younger. The analysis showed that a child's face was bitten in more than half of the incidents, though many injuries were deemed minor. Children 2 years old and under represented 30 percent of the dog bites, while the largest group was made up of children 6 to 12 years old with 34 percent of the bites.

Experts stressed the importance of adult supervision when children are around dogs, whether known to the family or not. It would be helpful to train children in how to act around dogs and how to spot potential aggressive behavior from them, particularly for older children. Animal safety advocates recommend life training when possible. Virtual reality and other simulations are now being used when live training is not available.

Animal bites, such as dog bites to the face, can result in serious physical injury. There is great risk of scarring and other cosmetic issues as well as potential long-term trauma from an attack. In a strict liability state like Wisconsin, an owner is responsible for the dog's behavior, even if the animal has never acted aggressively before. A victim may choose to file a lawsuit against a dog's owner. An experienced personal injury attorney can help victims and their families work toward a favorable outcome in the litigation process.

Source: Reuters, "Youngest kids most vulnerable to dog bites", Carolyn Crist, March 2, 2018

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