Se habla español


Dog Bites Increasing Nationwide

Home » Dog Bites Increasing Nationwide
December 09, 2017
Edward Smith


Dog Bites Increasing Nationwide

I’m Ed Smith, an El Dorado Hills personal injury lawyer. Did you know that dog bites account for about 4.5 million injuries each year? According to statistics supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one of every five dog bites become infected. In addition, dog bites can lead to scarring, multiple surgeries, lacerations and difficult to treat penetrating wounds.

California Dog Bite Law

California law regarding dog bites is clear. Under Article 2, Section 3342 of the California Civil Code, the owner of a dog in California that bites another individual is financially responsible for the damages caused by the animal. This law is in effect whether the attack occurs on private or public property. The owner of the dog must exhibit control of the animal at all times to prevent the animal from injuring someone. If this does not happen and an injury occurs, the owner may be deemed negligent.

Fatalities From Dog Bites on the Rise

Fatalities from dog bites averaged 17 during the 1980s and 90s, according to However, the numbers have increased over the years. Thirty-one fatalities from dog bites occurred in 2016. In 2013, California led the nation with six deaths caused by dog bites. Of these fatalities, 67 percent of the fatal injuries were caused by pit bulls. While 71 percent of the fatal attacks around the country were caused by pit bulls, it may be surprising that the next highest percentage (10 percent) were caused by Labradors. Deaths caused by dog attacks in 2017 include a 78-year-old resident of Los Angeles. The elderly man was walking his Pomeranian when he was attacked by several pit bulls. His dog was killed right away, and the man succumbed to his injuries a few weeks later.

Diseases Transmissible by Dog Bite

Any animal bite can contribute to an infection because of the high number of germs carried by the dog’s mouth. The following diseases can be present in dogs and may be transmitted to a human through a bite.

  • Rabies, although rare because of vaccinations, is still a concern. Because rabies infects the human brain, it is commonly fatal.
  • Pasteurella is commonly seen in victims of dog bites. It is a bacterial infection that can be progressive and affects soft tissue areas.
  • Capnocytophaga is a bacteria that lives in the mouths of dogs. Those with preexisting health conditions may become ill from this bacteria, according to the CDC. Such individuals can include diabetics, drinkers, those with cancer and others with compromised immune systems.
  • Tetanus is a bacteria known as lockjaw that can cause the jaw muscles to tighten, along with other serious symptoms. It can be fatal if left untreated.
  • MRSA is a serious Staph infection that can be resistant to antibiotic treatment. It can also be fatal in some people.

El Dorado Hills Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an El Dorado Hills personal injury lawyer. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, call (916) 921-6400 for my advice, which is friendly and free. Outside the calling area, phone (800) 404-5400. You can also use my contact form at

When seeking legal representation, having information about a lawyer’s practice is helpful. Find reviews about my team at Avvo, Google and Yelp. Information on cases is found at verdicts and settlements. I also belong to the Million Dollar Advocates as a forum member.

I have served in my community as an injury lawyer for 35 years, representing the injured of El Dorado Hills and Northern California. Whether it is a dog bite, car or truck accident, bicycle accident, motorcycle accident or you have suffered a wrongful death in your family, I am here to help.

Photo Attribution:

:cd [cs 641] cv