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Who Has the Highest Risk of Being Bitten?

Karen Delise in her extensive 35 year study of fatal dog attacks in the U.S. reported that the most fatal dog attacks occurred in California and the mostly likely dog to attack was a pit bull or a pit bull type of dog. Delise in her inclusive report states:

  • 79% of all fatal attacks were on children under the age of 12
  • 12% of the victims were the elderly, aged 65 – 94
  • 9% of the victims were 13 – 64 years old
  • The age group with the highest number of fatalities were children under the age of 1 year old;
    • Accounting for 19% of the deaths due to dog attack.
    • Over 95% of these fatalities occurred when an infant was left unsupervised with a dog(s).

Delise further breaks these statistics down stating:

  • The age group with the second-highest number of fatalities were 2-year-olds;
    • Accounting for 11% of the fatalities due to dog attack.
    • Over 87% of these fatalities occurred when the 2-year-old child was left unsupervised with a dog(s)
    • Or, the child wandered off to the location of the dog(s).
  • Boys aged 1 – 12 years old were 2.5 times more likely to be the victim of a fatal dog attack than girls of the same age.

DogsBite.org Notes that:

  • Of the six victim fatality age groups documented, the 55 and older group suffered the most fatalities 26% (23 of 88), followed by the 2-4 age group 22% (19 of 88).
  • 14% (12 of 88) of the fatal attacks on children ages 0-4 there was a “watcher,” a person such as a grandparent or babysitter watching the child. Of these attacks involving a “watcher,” 75% (9 of 88) involved a grandparent type.

The Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program found that bites from cats and dogs owned as pets is very common in U.S. and Canada with between 1 million and 2 million dog bites reported annually in both countries. In addition they found that:

  • Dogs are responsible for 85% of all bite wounds
  • 5-9 years old males are most frequent victims
  • In about 70% of the cases dog and cat bites are more serious in children as they are more likely to be bitten in the face, neck and head
  • Children account for the majority of deaths from animal bites that occur annually in the US
  • Up to 85% of dog and cat bites are caused by victims family or by a neighbor’s pet
  • About ½ of these bites are considered to be provoked

JAMA confirms the high incidence of fatalities in children from dog bites:

  • 157 dog bite related fatalities occurred in the US from 1979 to 1988
  • 70% of the 157 deaths occurred among children less than 10 years old

The CDC indicates that families who own a dog have a higher incidence of dog bites. As the number of dogs in the home increases, so does the incidence of dog bites. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home.

For more information on dog bites or for a free consultation, please call our office at (602) 483-6114.