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According to the American Humane Association, approximately 4.6 million Americans suffer dog bites every year, 800,00 of which require medical treatment. Ohio was fourth in the country in 2011 in dog bite insurance claims, behind only California, Illinois, and Texas. This ranking does not take into consideration population differences between the states.  State Farm Insurance alone paid 215 dog bite claims in Ohio, totaling $5.4 million.

The Columbus Public Health department reported 982 dog bites in Columbus and Worthington in 2011, down from 1,064 bites in 2010 and 1,105 in 2009. Last year, the Franklin County Health Department reported 405 bites for the rest of Franklin County.

May 20-26, 2012 is Dog Bite Prevention Week. Many advocacy groups are stressing awareness of smart ownership and proper behavior around dogs in recognition of this annual event.  Inga Fricke, Humane Society of the United States director of sheltering and pet-care issues, stated that dog owners should spay or neuter their pets, attend training classes and make certain that their dog is socialized and a part of the family, rather than keeping it tied up outside.

Parents should instruct children on how to properly interact with dogs as children account for nearly half of all dog bite victims. “Kids need to be taught to respect dogs,” said Fricke. Any breed and type of dog can bite and most victims are bitten by a dog the victim knows.

Mary Hiser, spokesperson for the Capital Area Humane Society, reported that the shelter assesses dogs for aggression before adopting dogs in an effort to prevent problems.  In addition, the humane society has dog bite prevention programs, such as teaching children not to run and scream if approached by a dog–behavior that encourages dogs to chase the child–and always asking permission before touching any dog. 

For more information, contact the Ohio dog bite attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: Columbus Dispatch, “Ohio ranks fourth in dog-bite victims,” Allison Manning, May 18, 2012.