Dog bite incidents in Devon & Somerset continue to increase

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The number of reported dog bites is one the increase … but it’s not just dogs we need to worry about in the South West.

Statistics reveal that injuries caused by animals, particularly dogs, are on an upward spiral.

Statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveal that hospital admissions due to animal bites and strikes are on the increase. They resulted in 10,574 admissions in 2014 to 2015, representing an increase of 7.7% on the previous 12-months.
These incidents overwhelmingly involved dogs. A staggering 7,227 admissions were due to dog bites. This represents a 6.5% increase, year on year.

The statistics focus on the most severe injuries and give us an interesting insight on the pattern of dog related injuries:-

  • Young children are most at risk of being bitten by dogs, particularly boys aged 5 to 9 years old.
  • Injuries suffered by children are most often to the face, especially the lips, nose and cheek.
  • Male dogs are usually responsible for attacks on humans.
  • Most adult victims suffer injury to their hands, arms, legs or feet.
  • The dogs involved are usually known to the victim, being family pets or belonging to friends or neighbours.
  • Bites from stray dogs are rarer because strays are generally wary of humans and keep their distance.
  • Admissions due to dog bites are higher in summer months and at Christmas.

The increase in the number of incidents during the last year is in line with long term trends. The number of hospital admissions due to dog bites has increased by a massive 76% in the past decade.

James McNally, a lawyer specialising in animal litigation and dog bite cases at our Taunton office, isn’t surprised by the statistics:

‘We receive calls virtually every day from people who have been bitten or attacked by a dog. The legal position is complicated and very often victims do not know where to turn. This is why our free legal helpline is so popular. In some ways our clients are the lucky ones. We are frequently able to arrange for them to be seen by specialist plastic surgeons, psychologists and cosmetic camouflage experts. For many victims, especially children, this can be the difference between being able to return to a normal life or not.

We deal with dog bite and animal cases on a no win, no fee basis, so if you have been injured and want to know where you stand then it’s worth giving us a call.’

In the South West it’s not just dogs we need to worry about, however. In rural areas people are at a greater risk of injury from other animals. The statistics reveal that Somerset in particular had one of the highest hospital admission rates in the country for injuries resulting from other mammals, such as farm animals, horses, foxes and cats. Here there were 164 admissions, or 11.3 per 100,000. This compares to just 249 admissions, or 3.0 per 100,000, in London.

You can call our Free legal Helpline on Freephone 0808 139 1606. Alternatively you can email James direct at [email protected]