Posted in Blog on November 19, 2015
As reported by 9 News, the 9Wants to Know team and I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS conducted a six-month investigation into dog bite incidents in Colorado’s Front Range. This unprecedented study examined 6,500 dog bite cases in the area using information collected over 2012 and 2013 from police, animal control and animal shelter databases. Using this data, the researchers were able to pinpoint the top five dog breeds responsible for dog bites in the Front Range, where they bite, and what kind of damage they often cause. The results were somewhat surprising, especially the fact that the number one breed responsible for bites was the family-friendly Labrador Retriever.
The five breeds that bit the most in and around Denver are as follows:
There may be a margin of error in the study because breeds are usually identified by the owner and not verified by an animal professional, but the Labs coming out on top isn’t as unusual as it seems. According to Denver’s Animal Care and Control Director Alice Nightengale, even the friendliest dog in the world can bite given the right circumstances, and Labs are the most popular breed in the Front Range according to registration records.
Only 2,000 of the 6,500 cases collected carried descriptions of the bite’s severity. The cases with injury details came from Douglas, Centennial and El Paso counties, with 4 percent described as “severe” and the rest either “minor” or “moderate.” When looking at all the cases, researchers found that bites on the hand were the most common, followed by leg bites, bites over the neck area, and bites to the arms.
The cases labeled “severe” involved injuries that called for stitches and even cosmetic surgery. In one serious case, a woman bit by her neighbor’s Lab was left with a large, gaping wound in her upper arm area that required several stitches to close. The dog in question was tethered in the neighbor’s yard but jumped upward and grabbed the woman’s arm by its mouth.
While there’s no guaranteed way to avoid dog bites, expert dog trainer Sean Miller recommends looking for “warning signs” that a dog who is ready to bite might exhibit. These include the dog looking at you from the side of its eye or raising the hair on its back and a tail or posture that is stiff. You should also avoid contact if the dog’s ears are down flat against its head.