Pet owners often have deep connections with their four-legged friends. After all, as the old saying goes, dogs are man's best friend. While a dog might certainly be his or her owner's best friend, that same rule does not always apply to other people. Unfortunately, pet owners can be biased towards their own dogs and ignore the risk of dog bites.
Dog bites are not as rare as some people in Massachusetts might think. Every year, dogs bite millions of people. Some of society's most vulnerable individuals are also most at risk when it comes to dog bites.
Injuries are worse for children
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that dogs bite approximately 4.7 million people annually. Of these victims, around 20% have to seek medical treatment for their injuries. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old make up most of that 20%.
Children around these ages are usually at the height where their faces are at the same level as a large dog. If a dog perceives a child's face as a threat -- which some dogs frequently do -- then the animal might attack. Bites to the face and neck are most common in these attacks, but it is not just the type of injuries that link these types of incidents involving children.
Researchers single out pit bulls
Researchers recently wrapped up a dog bite study in which they reviewed 15 years' worth of dog bite facial trauma from various hospital networks. They not only looked at which breeds bite most frequently but also the damage that breeds can exert per bite. The results of the study concluded that pit bulls cause most dog bite injuries, followed closely by dogs categorized as mixed breeds.
Some pit bull owners are not happy with the recent study. Many have spoken out against the results, claiming that bad owners are to blame, not the breed. Despite the documented risks of owning a pit bull, pet owners frequently believe that their own pets would not be capable of biting another person. Research and data indicates that these feelings are probably misguided.
Any dog can bite
While pit bulls are more likely to bite than other breeds, any kind of dog can bite. Bites from other breeds might not be as severe as those of pit bulls, but that does not mean they cannot cause trauma. Bites to the face and neck are especially traumatic.
When owners refuse to acknowledge the risk of dog bites associated with their pets, they put everyone in Massachusetts in danger. Bites can lead to physical damage and lingering emotional trauma that makes it difficult to traverse everyday life. Victims do not have to try to deal with these types of injuries on their own. When victims hold negligent dog owners responsible through successful personal injury claims, they can both achieve necessary compensation for their injuries as well as force owners to act more responsibly.