*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.
An in-depth analysis of 799 dog bites that were reported to Florida Department of Health in Bay County, Florida from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010 found that:
Children less than 6 years old and boys from 6–14 years of age were the two groups at greatest risk of being bitten by a dog.
Most dog bites (86 percent) which involved children less than 6 years old were from dogs known to the family, and more than half occurred in the home.
The cause of bites of over one third (39 percent) of children less than 6 years old was unknown, suggesting some young children may have been unsupervised when in contact with dogs.
More than half of dog bites involving persons 15 years and older occurred when the victim attempted to break up a dog fight. These incidents occurred somewhat more frequently in the home or on the dog owner’s property (55 percent) but also occurred frequently off the property.
Across all age groups, the most common cause of dog bites (26 percent) was inappropriate behavior management (interacting with the dog while it was eating food, chewing on a toy, roughhousing, or touching or moving the dog against its will). These types of bites occurred most frequently in the dog owner’s home or on their property (71 percent of cases).
Another common cause of dog bites was protective behavior (24 percent of cases), which occurred regularly both on and off the dog owner’s property.
Dogs that were off their owner’s property and off-leash were the source of approximately one third (32 percent) of all dog bites reported, and most (89 percent) involved dogs unknown to the victim.
Animals that are not neutered, particularly male dogs, may be at increased risk of biting people. Thousands of healthy and loving dogs and cats are put to death every year in the U.S. because pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets.
For more information on prevention, see: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/pets/2010-01-13-petsurvey13_ST_N.htm
AVMA: What you should know about dog bite prevention.
U.S. Postal Service: Tips for protecting your letter carrier from dog bites.
State Farm Insurance: More information on dog bite prevention.
Humane Society of the United States: Stay Dog Bite Free! Questions and answers, resources for children.