They’re man’s best friend but new figures may just reinforce how we must never take for granted our relationships with dogs.
In today’s Star we reveal that more than 200 people have been admitted to hospital after dog attacks in South Yorkshire.
Figures show that between March 2014 and February, 228 people were admitted to the region’s hospital after being bitten or struck by a dog.
Dogs are part of the family for many people.
In some households they can rule the roost with all the attention they get – and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as they’re treated with respect because 93 people were admitted to hospital in Sheffield – which is equivalent to 16 bites per 100,000 residents.
In Rotherham, 33 people were admitted, while 51 people were admitted to hospital in both Doncaster and Barnsley.
Worryingly the most affected age group was children aged under nine, with 1,159 admitted to hospital.
The most common injuries were wounds to wrists and hands, followed by head injuries.
When it comes to children and dogs, the advice given by Trevor Cooper, Dogs Trust’s law specialist, is worth listening to.
Trevor says: “It is especially worrying to learn that the number of hospital admissions for dog related injuries is highest among the 0-9 age group.
“Dogs Trust remains frustrated that legislation focusing on issues around dangerous dogs and dog attacks remains ineffective at preventing these incidents happening in the first place.
“It is the responsibility of dog owners to ensure their dogs are properly trained and socialised and Dogs Trust advises that young children should never be left alone with a dog.”
We hear a lot about dangerous dogs and there’s no doubt that some breeds are more aggressive than others. However, any dog, just like a human, can snap if provoked for too long.
It may seem like playing to a child but without the experience an adult may have of seeing the warning signs it could soon lead to a nip or a bite.
Being scared by a dog at a young age carries over into our later years. There’s never that same level of trust.
And that’s a shame because having a dog in the family is a very rewarding experience for everyone.
People need to show a bit of common sense to ensure we have less incidents this year.