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Investigation into dog bite cases provides valuable insight

Loyal, loving, friendly, energetic and playful are all words commonly used to describe dogs. There's no doubt that a dog can exhibit behaviors readily associated with these pronouns. However, it's important to note that every dog can also exhibit behaviors associated with being fearful, anxious, aggressive and unpredictable.

Journalists in one U.S. region recently conducted a six-month long investigation in an attempt to learn what dog breeds are most often involved in dog bite and attack cases. The teams' findings offer dog owners and anyone who comes into contact with a dog important information that could help prevent a future dog bite or attack.

When reviewing 6,500 reported dog bite cases from 2012 and 2013, journalists were able to hone in on five dog breeds that are most often involved in bite and injury cases. The popular and family-friendly Labrador topped the list followed by the German shepherd, Pit Bull, Chihuahua and Bulldog. It's important to note that this list would likely vary somewhat depending on what dog breeds are most popular in a geographical region.

Of the 6,500 dog bite cases examined, four percent "were labeled as 'severe' with the rest labeled as 'moderate' or 'minor'." When examining dog bite cases, it's important to look at the circumstances of each case to help discover how people can protect against becoming a dog bite victim. 

For example, a dog that is tied up in a yard and left alone for long periods of time is "three times more likely to bite than a dog that is socialized." Additionally, before a dog bite or attack occurs many dogs provide clues that they feel afraid or distressed. A stiff tail, pinned back ears and hair standing on end are all signs that a dog is feeling stressed. If a dog exhibits this type of behavior, it's wise to take steps to protect oneself and diffuse the situation. 

In the dog bite cases analyzed, 35 percent of injuries occurred to an individual's hands. Twenty-three percent of injuries were to an individual's legs, 19 percent to the face or head and 15 percent to the arms. These injuries can be both physically and emotionally painful and scarring. In cases where a dog bite occurs, a victim may take action to recover compensation related to their injuries. 

Source: KUSA-TV, "Dog breeds that bite the most along the Front Range," Jeremy Jojola, Nov. 11, 2014

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