…but it’s not just the dogs we need to worry about in Somerset.

Taunton solicitor James McNally takes a look at national statistics revealing that animal injuries, particularly dog bites, are on a worrying upward spiral

According to statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, hospital admissions due to animal bites and strikes are on the increase. They accounted for 10,574 admissions in 2014 to 2015; an increase of 7.7% from the previous 12-month period.

The vast majority of these incidents involved dogs. 7,227 admissions were specifically caused by dog bites, representing a 6.5% increase, year on year.

The stats, which focus on the most severe injuries, indicate that:

  • Young children are most at risk of being bitten by dogs, particularly boys aged five to nine years old.
  • Male dogs are usually responsible.
  • Injuries to children are most often to the face, particularly the lips, nose or cheek.
  • The dogs are usually known to the victim, being either family pets or belonging to friends or neighbours.
  • Bites from stray dogs are rarer because strays are often wary of humans and keep their distance.
  • Dog bites usually involve either puncture wounds (a deep, narrow hole in the skin), jagged wounds or cuts and abrasions.
  • Most adult victims suffer injury to the hands, arms, legs or feet.
  • Admissions due to dog bites were generally higher in summer months and at Christmas

The increase in the number of incidents during the last 12 months is in line with long term trends. The number of hospital admissions due to dog bites has increased by a whopping 76% over the past decade.

However, here in the Somerset we have more to worry about than just dog bites. Among the very highest admission rates in the country due to injuries from other mammals (such as farm animals, horses, foxes and cats) were Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire where there were 164 admissions, or 11.3 per 100,000. This compares to just 249 admissions, or 3.0 per 100,000, in London.

James McNally is a solicitor specialising in animal litigation and dog bite compensation claims at out Taunton office. Much of his work is carried out on a popular No Win, No Fee basis.

James operates a FREE Animal Law Helpline which you can call on 01823 354545. Or you can email him at [email protected]

Dog Bites On the Increase