Dog bites on the rise, children most vulnerable from dog attacks

Two new studies have been published on the threat of dog attacks. The first study was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It documents a rise in the number of dog bites over the past 16 years with emergency department visits. It also notes that more and more of these dog attack victims are requiring admission to a hospital for advanced care. This news is coupled with a study by Professor Vikram Durairaj of the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His study shows that children are most vulnerable from dog attacks and bites. The study reports that dogs most often bite the child’s face and eyes, causing severe & permanent injuries. Certainly, some of these dog bite victims are killed during the attack. Of note was the fact that the dogs involved in these assaults were often the family’s own pet and were classified as good or child friendly dogs. However, this is not always the case. Researchers explain that a dog attack may be a result of negligence on behalf of the owner. They may have let their dog roam free, without a leash, as is required by law in most communities. Many parents complain that dogs are often let loose in a park where children play. Owners who do not control their dogs or other pets can be held liable for their actions and a lawsuit often results. We reported in this column two weeks ago about a dog attack on board a New York area plane. In that incident a dog was let loose on the airplane by its owner and bit 2 victims. If you or someone you know has suffered a dog attack you should speak to an attorney for advice on your legal rights. Read more about the recent rise in dog bites here and the study on children being attacked by dogs here.

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