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California surge in dog bites connected to other issues

Animals may react badly to human conditions, and communities all over California have faced the results of animal attacks. These can range from slight bruises from an overactive dog to a life-threatening injury from a powerful, agitated animal.

A neighborhood in California’s state capital has experienced a surge in dog attacks over the last few years. Some areas experienced more than 300 dog bites over the five-year period studied. Researchers connected much of the problem to crime and urban blight.

Residents tend to use dogs for security in areas of high crime and likelihood of robbery. Escaped guard dogs can create hazards for neighborhood residents — particularly children — and owners may still be liable for their actions.

The aggressive collection of breeds known as “pit bulls” was responsible for around a third of the neighborhood’s reported dog attacks. This contributed to 1,900 annual homeowner insurance liability payments in California, with each averaging $34,000.

Dog bites accounted for more than a third of all homeowner insurance liability payments nationwide in 2014. This makes animal attacks harmful to victims, expensive to owners’ insurers and emotionally difficult for the owners themselves.

Although only 20 percent of dog bites require medical attention, injuries can be grave if it is required. It is possible for victims to lose eyes, fingers or toes to an attack.

Victims of animal attacks may require legal representation to explore all options for making them whole. Law enforcement may be involved, and courts can help victims reach settlements or take action against the owners of dangerous dogs.

Source: Sacramento Bee, “Why the North Sacramento are has a dog-bite problem,” Brad Branan, Sep. 22, 2017