Perhaps it isn’t all that surprising that California ranks as the number one state in both frequency and occurrence of dog bite claims. At least it shouldn’t be surprising since California has more people (and more dogs) than any other state in the country. There are about 4.7 million dog bites every year in the U.S., which means you have about a 1 in 69 chance of being bitten each year. It also means that you’ll almost certainly be attacked at some point in your life.
But while that might seem pretty bad, there’s a lot of hidden information that goes into those statistics that you might not be aware of.
For starters, most bites are minor and occur right at home. Even though bites are so frequent, someone has only got a 1 in 112,400 chance of losing their life due to a dog bite. To put it into perspective, you have a much bigger chance of being killed by a firearm in a given year: 1 in 6,905. The reason for that is probably simpler than you think.
When dogs “attack,” they’re not really trying to hurt you. They don’t want an altercation. They’re just trying to tell you they need more space. This is the number one reason why kids are the primary targets of dog bites. Kids are the least likely to understand when a boundary has been crossed. Kids are also the most likely to suffer serious injuries because their necks and faces are more likely to be about eye-level with some dogs.
Most dog bites also occurred when dogs were not spayed or neutered.
You’re most likely to get a bite from a Chihuahua than any other dog. But also high on the list are bulldogs, pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Australian Shepherds. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog is at fault for the aggressive behavior. Usually owners will seek out a breed of dog because of stereotypes. Dogs are dogs. They act the way they act based on the type of training they receive from their humans.
Here’s another important statistic you’ll want to keep close to the chest: insurance companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year due to dog bites. That means if you were bitten by a neighbor’s dog, you might be entitled to compensation. You should call a personal injury attorney right away — and keep track of all your medical records.