In the Media

Number of dog bite victims soars as gangs train animals to fight

PUBLISHED August 9, 2012

The number of dog bite victims admitted to hospital has risen by almost a third in four years with children under ten the most likely to be attacked and require plastic surgery, NHS figures have revealed.

There were a total of 6,450 hospital admissions for dog bites and attacks in 2011/12, up from 4,611in 2007/8.

It is thought the rise in status dogs trained for fighting by teenage gangs may be to blame.

Around one in six hospital admissions following an attack by a dog involved a child under ten and they are most likely to suffer serious facial injuries requiring plastic surgery, data has shown.

The NHS estimates that around half of children will be bitten by a dog, usually a family pet or one owned by a friend or neighbour.

The figures represent the tip of the iceberg as only the most serious injuries are included that required the patient to a hospital bed requiring treatment, and possibly surgery. Those treated in A&E and sent home are not included.

Children were most likely to require facial plastic surgery following the attacks, the figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show.

Should the government bring back dog licences?

More than 1,000 children under ten were admitted following attacks by dogs last year and almost half required plastic surgery.

Hospital admissions after bog bites were highest in the North East and North West and lowest in London and South East Coast regions.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: "Injuries sustained from dog strikes or bites resulted in nearly 6,500 hospital admissions in England last year - with children under 10 accounting for around one in every six admissions.

"Through further analysis, it is also possible to infer a likely distinction in the type of injuries sustained by child and adult victims of dog bites and strikes; with children having a higher rate of admission to the specialities that carry out plastic and specialist facial surgery."

Number of admission for dog bite or strike injuries in England:

2007/8 - 4,611

2008/9 - 5,221

2009/10 - 5,837

2010/11 - 6,005

2011/12 - 6,581