Why do dog bites turn into fatalities?

A dog bite injury is bad enough, but far too many dog attacks turn fatal. In fact, between the years 2000 and 2009 in the United States, there were a total of 256 fatal attacks. To find out why this happened, researchers studied the individual attacks to find out what things contributed to the deaths.

In 223 incidents, or 87.1 percent of the cases studied, it was found that able-bodied individuals -- adults -- were not there to stop the attack. The implication here is that children or those who were otherwise unable to fend off the animal on their own were attacked when no one else was around, leading to the death.

In 85.2 percent of the cases, or a total of 218, the people being attacked did not know the dogs and had no relationship with them. This could indicate that the dogs thought that the unknown humans were a threat, which comes as no surprise, though, it is interesting that just under 15 percent of the fatal attacks occurred with people with whom the dogs already had a relationship.

A third major factor was that many of the dogs were not family dogs who interacted with people on a regular basis, but dogs that were isolated from humans. This was found in 76.2 percent of the cases, or 195 total.

Have you lost someone in a dog attack, or has one of your children or loved ones been injured in such an event? If so, you may have a right to compensation for your injuries and medical bills, and it's important to know all about these rights in Tennessee.

Source: NCBI, "Co-occurrence of potentially preventable factors in 256 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States (2000-2009)." GJ Patronek, accessed Mar. 17, 2015

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