Friday, 25 April 2014

Hospital statistics on dog bite incidents

Dear Mr Jones, You may have seen that the annual hospital statistics on dog bite incidents have been released today.

The RSPCA has made the following points in response to these statistics reminding people that education is key to reducing the number of attacks on people, especially children.

The RSPCA is concerned but unsurprised to see that the annual number of admissions to hospitals for dogs bites and strikes released by the HSCIC has again increased. The Government has said it will use dog bite statistics to measure the effectiveness of the new law which comes into force in May but we don’t expect this trend to change while the law does nothing to prevent these sorts of dog bites and attacks from happening in the first place.

We strongly believe that there needs to be a much greater co-ordinated and focused effort to educate people to interact safely around dogs. The hospital statistics show that the age group with the highest admissions is 0-9 year olds. Children tend to treat pet dogs as their peers often cuddling and kissing them with very close facial contact, which a dog could find threatening. Therefore it is vital that parents and others teach themselves and children about dogs so signs that a dog is uncomfortable are recognised and acted upon especially when summer, a time when admissions are highest, is approaching.

The RSPCA has information for families which includes the following simple rules:

· never leave a child alone in the same room as a dog

· only allow close contact between children and dogs under competent adult supervision

· never allow your child to approach an unfamiliar dog or one that you don’t know to be friendly towards children

Further free resources are available for parents on how you can teach your child to minimise the risk of dog bites and for children which show how they should and should not interact with dogs

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Claire Robinson
Government Relations Manager
RSPCA, Wilberforce Way,
Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS

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