Friday, January 8, 2010

Dog Bite Fatalities from 2009

Please check out this posting from the KC Dog Blog if you are interested in knowing the details (as reported in the media) of the dog bite fatalities in the US in 2009. There were 33 dog bite fatalities in 2009, 20 of them children. Fatal attacks are very rare (considering that there are reportedly 73 million dogs in the US), but the circumstances tend to be reported, providing an opportunity to learn about the conditions that result in dog attacks. It is very likely that many unreported bites also occurred under similar circumstances and that many children are at risk, even if a bite has not yet occurred. The information we gain from the circumstances of the fatal attacks can help us learn what needs to be done to prevent both fatal and non-fatal attacks.

Here are some of the circumstances of the attacks on children:

  • Child left unsupervised with the dog ("for just a moment" in most cases): 11/20
  • Dog chained: 9/20 (we will talk more about this in a future post)
There are doubtless many other factors involved, including training and living conditions of the dogs, which if improved could result in significant risk reduction. However, two recommendations are clearly supported by the available evidence:

We must continue to urge parents never to leave a child unsupervised with a dog even for a moment.

We must continue to educate people on the danger of keeping a dog on a chain and to urge parents to teach children to keep away from chained dogs.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings! Unfortunately, most dog walkers discover a danger, only sadly, when victimized. Since dogs often bite when shocked (please see Aric Roman's Testimony), I wanted to inform you of And so you are aware, I confer with Con Edison's Stray Voltage and Public Affairs Units and contribute to Wet Nose Guide and New York Dog Chat.Please see the 3/9 dog shocking in StreetZaps Chicago's Testimonies. Many thanks!

    WHY URBAN METAL ISN'T PRECIOUS- Blair Sorrel, Founder,

    Of course, you want a worry-free walk year-round, so adopt this simple strategy:


    Take just a few seconds to survey the immediate surroundings and make your trajectory toward a non-conductive surface, ie., plastic, wood, cardboard, rather than risking any metal or electrical fixture. The lowly, free-standing garbage bag, is you and your dog's best friend, most of the time, unless it's snowed and salted. Then you might contemplate indoor products. Consider the safer, hardware-free RopeNGo leash and harness to help shield against a possible zapping and for greater peace of mind.


    Your pooch's sex is irrelevant. True, the most gruesome scenario is that of a male dog electrocuted by its own urine. Our poster girl sidled a hydrant and limped for five days.Intuit your dog's cues, if resistant to an area, choose an alternative route. Elude potentially live work areas or carry your canine, if necessary. Opt for indoor products such as The Pet Loo, Hammacher Schlemmer's Indoor Restroom, or Wee-Wee Pads, if external conditions are ominous. Dog booties can leak and make your pooch even more vulnerable.


    Any of these fixtures might be dangerous, so again, choose non-conductive where and when possible. (link to home page fixtures listed below and/or the visuals page):

    View All StreetZaps' Home Page & Safety Images

    – Street & Traffic Lights can leak if damaged internally, even if the compartment is fully closed and the light is not illuminated

    – While wooden blocks anchor Scaffolding or Sidewalk Sheds, be aware that sloppy wiring by a contractor and/or the use of lighting equipment which is NOT WATER-PROOFED or even suitable for outdoor usage, may still shock a passerby.

    – ATM Vestibules

    – Decorative Lighting

    – Dog Booties may increase
    the risk of a shock

    - Electrical Boxes

    – Fire Hydrants

    – Fire Police Call Boxes

    – Manhole Covers

    – Muni Meters

    – Phone Booths

    – Service Boxes

    – Street Light Boxes

    – Traffic Boxes

    – Work Areas

    After all, why chance it when there's a choice?


    Tampered equipment can become pernicious so please map (Report Form) damaged fixtures and known hot spots to admonish other pedestrians and alert the utility and transportation department.