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Dog Attacks in the US: 2013 Statistics

Looking at the statistics helps identify several prime risk factors related to dog bites.

Dog BiteIt always takes a while for the latest statistics to come out in any field. Now that we have access to the 2013 dog bite statistics we can draw some important conclusions about dog bite trends that may help protect you and your family from bites, or at least give you a strong case for compensation in the event of an unprovoked dog bite.

Over half of 2013 dog bite fatalities were children.

In 2013, 32 people were killed by dogs in the US. Out of these 32 fatalities, 18 victims were children younger than 7. This sheds light on a very important point regarding dog bites, namely that young children are at a higher risk of death from dog bites and attacks than teens and adults. Dogs are able to inflict more damage on a young child than an adult, especially if the dog is stronger and larger than the child. Many children who do survive a dog attack end up requiring extensive surgery to cover their scars.

It is extremely important to educate young children about how to interact with strange dogs as well as with the family pet, to help them avoid inadvertently provoking an attack. Sadly, if the dog’s attack is proven to have been provoked by a child hitting or harassing the dog, the owner would probably not be found liable for the dog’s behavior.

81 percent of dog bite fatalities in 2013 involved Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.

Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are among the many breeds commonly kept as watch dogs, security dogs, or even fighting dogs. It is no wonder that some of the animals used in this way become aggressive and prone to attacking strangers or even their owners in some cases. Pit Bulls were responsible for the most deaths, but it is hard to say whether this is because Pit Bulls are inherently more aggressive or simply because they are an extremely commonly owned breed.

It is unwise to approach any dog that is showing an aggressive, territorial defense behavior, but as the statistics show it may be an especially bad idea to approach a Pit Bull or Rottweiler. This is true even if the dog appears to be restrained on a chain or behind a fence, as there is always the possibility that the dog could break free and bite you. If defects on the property where the dog is held lead to a bite, you might be able to pursue a claim against the property owner as well as the dog’s owner.

5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2013.

There is some truth to the old saying about dogs hating the mailman. According to the US Postal Service, 304 employees were bitten by dogs in California last year, and Los Angeles was among the worst cities in the country for mail carrier dog bites. Contrary to what you might think, outside dogs are not the only problem. Many mail carriers are also bitten by indoor dogs that burst out through window screens or doors when they catch sight of someone coming up to the house with a package.

The USPS instructs mail carriers to never trust a dog, no matter how many times they have seen it behave well. This is actually good advice for everyone who needs to enter or pass by a property where a dog is known to be present. By not initiating any interaction with a dog or approaching it, you make it very difficult for the owner to mount a defense against your personal injury claim should the dog attack.


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