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ER visits for dog bites spike in California, but why?

What leads to a dog bite? The answer to that question is not always straightforward. Sometimes it is simply the dog's demeanor. Other times, the animal is provoked - whether purposefully or not. Something as simple as an unfamiliar person near the house or yard can lead to an attack.

Just as unclear, unfortunately, are the reasons for a recent spike in dog bites throughout California. The California Department of Public Health recently released reports for the last five years - and the results are not reassuring.

Last 5 years worse than previous 6

While there is no data available for 2016 at this point, we do know that there were 187,448 visits to emergency rooms throughout the state for dog bites from 2011 to 2015. This represents a jump of more than 26,400 from the previous six years: 2005 to 2010.

Reasons for rise in dog bites unclear

Although the reports did name the top three breeds responsible for bites - German shepherds, Pit bulls and Chihuahuas - they do not point to any clear causes behind the steady rise in California.

No matter what is prompting the increase in bites, it is important to do whatever you can to stay safe in the presence of dogs you are unfamiliar with. Standing still, staying calm and keeping your distance are all ways to avoid accidentally provoking or agitating a dog.

If you are bit, you have rights

If you or your child is bit by a dog, you should know that you have rights. In San Diego, owners are responsible for the behavior of their pet. After you seek the medical attention you or your child needs, it may be worthwhile to consider your legal options.

Filing a claim against a dog owner can help you obtain compensation for your medical bills and other expenses related to the attack. A lawyer can help you understand your options and guide you through the process of filing a claim.

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