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Number of dog bites each year

As Connecticut residents read stories about dog bites in the paper and hear about them on the news, they may wonder how common these attacks are. These events are not as rare as many people might think. According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, dogs bite 4.5 million people on average each year.

Most of the people who are bitten by dogs are children and senior citizens. Children are more prone to incur severe injuries, and are usually bitten by dogs they know. While the number of dog bites ranges in the millions, about 800,000 dog bites merit medical attention.

The number of fatal dog bites is surprisingly low, considering the number of bites which occur each year. DogsBite.org says that 31 people died after being attacked by a dog in 2016. Eighteen of these people were adults, while 13 children were killed. Most of these children were nine years old and younger; however, 31 percent were infants less than a week old. The fatalities by age range split along gender lines. Women over 59 made up 75 percent of the fatalities for this age range, while more boys under the age of 9 died.

Many people may think that most bites are incurred by dog breeds with a reputation for violence. For the most part, this was correct in 2016; Rottweilers, German shepherds and American bulldogs each caused two deaths and pit bulls killed 22 people. However, one breed usually regarded as a friendly, family dog is included among the breeds which killed people last year. Three people died in 2016 after being bitten by Labrador retrievers.

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