Provisional Data Deepens Concern Over Dangerous Dogs
The size of the task that the Government faces in terms of cracking down on dangerous dogs and providing better protection to the public has been highlighted by new figures which show an increase in the number of people hospitalised as a result of dog bites, according to legal experts.
Provisional data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has revealed that 6,450 admissions for dog bites or strikes were recorded in the year to April 2012, which marked a 5.2 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.
The increase was well above the average rise seen for all conditions, which stood at just 1.3 per cent.
In addition, the worrying research revealed around one in six admissions related to dog bite and strike injuries involved a child under 10, with a number of youngsters in the age group being admitted for plastic surgery or specialist oral and facial treatment.
Irwin Mitchell’s legal experts have vast experience in representing dog attack victims who have suffered serious physical and psychological injuries after being involved in such incidents, helping them to secure funds that help them to access specialist support and rehabilitation services.
David Urpeth, a Partner and specialist in dog bite and attack cases, said: “It must be remembered that behind each of the admissions which make up these statistics will be stories of people who have suffered a huge amount of trauma as a result of a dog attack.
“The impact that such incidents can have on people must not be underestimated, as we have seen first-hand how victims of all ages can be left with long-term physical and psychological problems.
“The Government recently completed a consultation on new legislation designed to better protect the public from the threat of dangerous dogs, while the Sentencing Council has also confirmed new guidelines to be used in relation to such cases.
“These figures demonstrate just how timely that action is, as the research shows the massive challenge that awaits in terms of tackling this issue once and for all.”
While many measures included in the consultation on new dangerous dog legislation have been welcomed by Irwin Mitchell, Urpeth added that further measures should be considered to provide better protection to victims.
He outlined: “Microchipping and other plans will be very useful in identifying both animals and irresponsible owners, but we remain convinced that compulsory insurance and licensing should have been a consideration for ministers.
“Such cover would ensure that victims injured by dogs would still be able to get the help they need to make as full a recovery as possible.
“In addition, proposed changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) compensation scheme may mean victims are only able to make a claim if the animal involved was used as a weapon.
“At present, the CICA is the only way many dog attack victims can seek justice in relation to attacks. Making this change without introducing compulsory insurance would make it very difficult for such people to get the vital support that they both need and deserve.”