|Dog Bite Information and Prevention
The failure to prevent ones dog from attacking
or biting people engaged in lawful activity presents a significant
threat of harm to public health and safety, and is prohibited
by law. Owners of animals that attack or bite people are often
subject to administrative action and may also incur criminal responsibility
and/or civil liability.
- 4.7 Million persons are bitten by dogs annually in the U.S.
and 800,000 of those persons require medical treatment. Dog
bite injuries increased 37% in the U.S. between 1986 and 1994.
- The cost of an average dog bite injury treated in a hospital
emergency room is $274; severe injuries can result in thousands
of dollars in treatment and surgery costs. The national annual
total for emergency room treatment of new dog bite injuries
is $102.2 million.
- Dog bites occur on the owners property 70% of the time.
The Insurance Institute estimates that up to one-third of homeowners
liability claims are for dog attacks and the insurance industry
paid an estimated $1 billion in dog bite claims during 1994.
- Locally, the County of San Diego Department of Animal Control
investigates over 6,000 reported dog bites or non-bite attack
How to prevent dog bites and be a responsible
- Keep your dog in an adequately fenced enclosure which is locked
to prevent unauthorized access. Do not keep your dog on a chain.
- Control your dog with a hand-held leash when away from home.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Altering will reduce your dogs
desire to roam, making confinement an easier task. Unaltered
dogs are up to 3 times more likely to bite than dogs that have
been spayed or neutered. (Low-cost spay/neuter referrals are
available from the Spay Neuter Action Project at 619-525-3047,
or from Pet Assistance at 619-544-1222 or 760-745-7986.)
- Properly train and socialize your dog.
- Dont play aggressive games (wrestling, tug-of-war, allowing
to play-bite a person) with your dog.
- If you dont know how your dog will react to a new situation,
be cautious. Never leave your dog unattended with a small child.
- Ensure that your dog is vaccinated against rabies and properly
Safety tips on how to avoid being bitten include:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Never run from a dog and scream.
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still.
- Never permit a child to play with a dog without adult supervision.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you