NEARLY five people are hospitalised every week with dog bites in South Yorkshire, new NHS figures reveal.
Over the past two years, 502 people have been admitted to the county’s hospitals with severe bites requiring treatment including facial, reconstructive and plastic surgery.
And many more people were treated in A&E before being discharged, as the new numbers, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, only relate to patients who were admitted.
In Sheffield, 111 patients were hospitalised for dog bites between May 2011 and April 2012, while 116 were admitted the year before - about 10 a month.
Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster boroughs each saw about one person admitted each week.
The figures in South Yorkshire stayed static over the two years - 252 last year and 250 the year before - compared to a national rise of 5.2 per cent.
Sheffield postman Paul Coleman, who has never fully recovered after being mauled by two dogs five years ago, has called for dog ownership laws to be tightened.
The 44-year-old father-of-two suffered serious leg, arm and chest injuries and had to undergo skin grafts and plastic surgery after he was dragged to the ground and attacked for 15 minutes while doing his deliveries.
Mr Coleman, of Stafford Mews, City Road, said: “More has to be done regarding the ownership of dangerous dogs.
“It’s not the dogs’ fault - it’s about how they are brought up and looked after.
“The dogs that attacked me were tied to 4ft chains and kept in a cellar most of the time - it’s not surprising they attacked me.”
The owner of the dogs - a pit bull and Staffie-Japanese tosa cross - was jailed for four months for owning dangerous dogs.
Mr Coleman still works for the Royal Mail, but has been forced to give up deliveries because of his injuries and now works as a sorting officer at the Brightside Lane sorting office.
The Government has recognised dog attacks are a growing problem and new rules come into force today allowing courts to impose tougher sentences on owners.
From today. people whose out-of-control dogs injure someone could be given up to 18 months behind bars - up from the previous limit of 12 months.