Region Tops Dog Bite League

Official statistics suggest the Teesside, Durham and Darlington area has one of the highest rates of dog attacks in the country.

Figures compiled by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show there were 269 hospital admissions due to dogs in the region in a one-year period during 2013-14, an average of 22.8 per 100,000 people.

The ratio is more than three times that of the least affected area, London, which had 634 admissions (7.6 per 100,000 people). Only Merseyside suffered more dog attacks per person.

Rebecca Montague, one of the expert personal injury lawyers at Macks Solicitors, says dog bite law can be complex, with victims’ right to compensation depending on several factors.

“There’s a list of dogs you’re not allowed to own under the Dangerous Dogs Act and if you’re bitten by one of them, you can bring a claim,” she says.

“However, any dog has the potential to attack you and cause injury, not just dangerous breeds.

“If you’re bitten by a dog that isn’t banned, it has to have shown a propensity to bite  before.

“So we need to find out if their owner or keeper knew it had aggressive tendencies or if it had bitten anyone else. If you can prove that, you’re more likely to be able to bring a successful claim.

“You can claim against the owner’s house or pet insurance but if they have neither, it’s difficult.

“There’s no point bringing a claim if you’re not going to get any money and there’s nobody there to pay.”

Attacks appear to be on the increase, with 6,743 hospital admissions caused by dog bites in England in a one-year period during 2013-14, a 5.8% increase on the 6,372 admissions recorded in the previous 12 months.

Nationally, more than 200,000 people are bitten by dogs each year, costing the NHS around £3m for the treatment of injuries.

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