Dog Bite Injuries and Fatalities
in the United States

Introduction

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog Bite Fatalities

Risk Factors:
Breed, Victim & Place

Cost of Dog Bites

Factors that Impede Progress

Event Analysis

Prevention Strategies

References

Factors That Impede Progress

Several factors impede progress in the area of dog bites, among them: uncoordinated prevention efforts, narrowly focused breed specific laws, lack of dangerous dog ordinance enforcement, and an unhealthy tolerance among many Americans for aggressive dog behavior. However, the primary factor that underlies these down stream factors is the lack of accurate and complete dog bite data. No centralized reporting system currently exists for dog bites in the United States. Instead, injuries are currently reported to police, to veterinarians, to animal control agencies, and to emergency rooms, making meaningful analysis impossible.

The Humane Society of the United States maintains a registry of dog bite fatalities that includes the following: date of death, age and sex of decedent, city and state of attack, number and breeds of dogs involved and the circumstances of the attack.8 In order to better understand the dog bite problem, these data should be collected for all fatal and non-fatal dog injuries by hospital emergency departments and primary care clinics. In addition, the race, ethnicity, income, the number of dogs owned in a household and the previous bite status of a dog should also be collected.

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