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Report: hospital visits for dog bites have increased in recent years

According to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, dog bites are on the rise in California in recent years. The agency reports that the number of Californians seeking treatment for dog bites increased 44 percent between 2006 and 2015, and that the number of patients requiring hospitalization for dog bites increased by 75 percent in that time.

As concerning as these numbers are, there were even greater increases in Sacramento County, where emergency room visits and hospitalizations over doubled between 2006 and 2014. What exactly is causing the increasing isn’t clear, but at least one factor has been identified as a possible cause. 

One factor behind the increase in attacks is that more people in California are using dogs for protection. People are buying larger breeds to protect themselves and their homes, especially in rural areas, and these are the areas where a greater number of dog attacks are seen.

Larger dog breeds, of course, stand a greater chance of doing harm to attack victims. Those who are most at risk of harm are the young and old, who have less of an ability to defend themselves from an attack.

Dog attacks can range in severity from mild to fatal, and everything in between. When a dog attack victim suffers serious injuries as a result of a dog attack, he or she has the right to hold the dog’s owner accountable for damages. In our next post, we’ll look at California’s strict liability statute and how dog attack victim’s can use it to seek damages.

Source: Findlaw, “Animal Bites: Who Pays Damages?,” Accessed Nov. 14, 2016. 

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