Dog bites have the potential to cause serious injuries to victims whether they are children or adults. There are roughly 77.5 million dogs living within the United States. From the tiny Pug to the gargantuan Great Dane, these dogs bite approximately 4,500,000 people every year. Victims include children, family members, friends, and members of the public. The CDC estimates that roughly half of these dog bites are unprovoked.
Even trained dogs such as police dogs have the potential to cause unprovoked attacks. For this reason, it is important to stay alert to the dog’s demeanor and posture whenever they are present.
Most Dangerous Breeds
All dogs have the potential for violence, however, some breeds pose a greater risk than others. The following are some of the deadliest dog breeds in America based on statistics collected in 2012:
Pit Bulls – Representing 4.4% of dogs in the United States, Pit Bulls have caused bodily harm to 2,235 victims. 1,268 of these victims were maimed, and 233 died as a result of their injuries. 911 of these victims were children, and 806 were adults.
Rottweiler – Rottweilers represent 2.2% of the registered dog population and they have caused bodily harm to 495 victims. Of these, 277 were maimed, and 81 died as a result of their injuries. 278 of these individuals were children, and 131 were adults.
Husky – This breed represents less than .05% of the registered dog population, yet they are responsible for a significant number of injuries and deaths. As of 2012, the breed had caused bodily harm to 71 victims. Of these, 20 were seriously maimed, and 24 died of their injuries. Children are at greatest risk with 44 child victims, in addition to 5 adults.
Chows – Representing less than .01% of the registered dog population, Chows are especially dangerous. There have been 55 recorded attacks resulting in injuries. Of these, 37 victims were seriously maimed, and 7 victims succumbed to their injuries. Again, the breed poses a serious risk to children. 36 dog bite victims were under the age of 18. The dog breed has also injured 16 adults.
Physical Injuries From Dog Bites
Dog’s jaws are designed to rip and tear flesh. When they bite into a human victim, they can tear muscles from bones, destroy tendons, cause deep lacerations, and rip through cartilage. These injuries can significantly impact a victim’s range of movement and quality of life. Depending on the dog’s size, and the size of the victim, a dog bite may also lead to broken bones. These injuries can lead to long-term pain and suffering that can take years to completely heal.
These injuries can require stitches, application of corrective devices such as a casts or splints, administration of antibiotics, and in severe cases, hospitalization. As with all injuries, prompt treatment is essential to preventing the injury from becoming worse and progressing into a life threatening condition.
Infections Associated with Dog Bites
Infections are equally as dangerous as the immediate physical injury a dog bite causes. Without proper treatment, these injuries can cause serious health consequences that can include amputation or death. Dog bites are often polymicrobial which can create significant complexities in regard to proper treatment and care.
Dog bites frequently transfer Pasteurella Canis, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus into the victim’s body. The animal’s saliva, feces, or blood may also contain Capnocytophaga Canimorsus, C. Canimorsus, Porphyromonas, Bacteriodes, or Fusobacterium. If these pathogens enter the victim’s body, they may lead to severe infection. While many can be treated with penicillin, amoxicillin, or cephalosporins, if the individual’s immune system is weakened by age, immunodeficiency, or other existing health problems, treatment of these infections can be complex, costly, and time consuming.
If the animal is infected with rabies, the bite requires immediate treatment that includes thorough wound cleaning and administration of a rabies vaccine. Even so, vaccines and treatments have a limited effectiveness in treating the disease and it is often fatal to victims.
Pursuing Dog Bite Claims
Dog bite victims in Nevada should contact a dog bite lawyer to discuss their legal options. In Nevada, victims can pursue compensation for the injuries they have sustained. State law holds dog owners accountable for negligence, negligence scienter, and intentional tort. This means that they may be held liable even if they claim that they were unaware that the dog was dangerous.
Dog owners in Nevada can be held liable if they fail to effectively restrain the dog, if they willfully leave the dog unattended, or fail to take other reasonable measures to protect the public from harm. If a dog owner’s “pet” has harmed an individual, they may be held liable for the injuries their animal has caused. This includes the medical expenses associated with treating the injury, lost wages suffered as a result of the bite, reconstructive surgeries, and loss of quality of life.