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Dog Bite Prevention

 

Dog Bite Prevention

Injury from dog bites is a demonstrated public health concern in the U.S. and in Georgia. Recently, the Injury Prevention Section has joined county health departments and animal control agencies to implement a comprehensive Dog Bite Prevention program in Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham counties. The purpose of this program was to reduce the number of dog bite-related injuries in these three counties, especially among children and the elderly, who are at highest risk for this injury.

Injury from dog bites is a demonstrated public health concern in the U.S. and in Georgia. Recently, the Injury Prevention Section has joined county health departments and animal control agencies to implement a comprehensive Dog Bite Prevention program in Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham counties. The purpose of this program was to reduce the number of dog bite-related injuries in these three counties, especially among children and the elderly, who are at highest risk for this injury.

Dog Bite Facts

Dog Bites in the United States

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Approximately 4.7 million persons are bitten by dogs bites every year;
  • Only about 17% of dog bites are reported;
  • Almost 800,000 dog bites require medical attention every year;
  • Half of dog bites getting medical care were to children.

Dog Bites in Georgia: Bulloch, Chatham and Effingham Counties -
Based on reports from the health departments in the three-county program area in 1999, there were:

  • 152 dog bites per 100,000 population in Chatham County
  • 87 dog bites per 100,000 population in Bulloch County
  • 24 dog bites per 100,000 population in Effingham County

 

What Can You Do?

Dog Bite Prevention Program Goals

The Dog Bite Prevention Program provided an opportunity to 1) decrease the number and severity of dog bite-related injuries, 2) establish further collaboration among individuals and groups with a vested interest in preventing these injuries, and 3) provide education and opportunities for behavior change among at-risk populations. Components of this program addressed the following areas:

  • Promoting strong local ordinances and uniform enforcement Georgia state code sets minimum standards, requirements and penalties regarding dog control, which, ideally, will be enforced on the local, level. Enforcement of leashing and fencing regulations vary among the three-county area. The program provided an opportunity for the local program sites to encourage enforcement of current state and local regulations, strengthen existing or enact new ordinances, and educate the community about the need for dog control policies and enforcement.
  • Achieving comprehensive and consistent reporting The level of reporting of dog bites and the systems in place to collect and monitor this data vary greatly among the three program counties. This program promoted standardized reporting to a central authority.
  • Implementing community-wide education interventions – The program engaged the community in coordinated, multi-faceted dog bite prevention education programs to reach key at-risk populations, such as school-aged children, the elderly, dog owners, as well as professionals who treat or have an opportunity to prevent dog bites.