Dozens of kids in dog bite claims

More than 250 people were injured by dog bites last year in Dunedin, including 40 children under the age of 14.

ACC claim statistics released to The Star show there were 260 claims made by dog-attack victims in 2011.

There were 279 in 2010.

However, the overall cost of the claims increased from $36,290 to $46,515, suggesting the injuries were more serious.

Of the claims, 23 were for 20-24 year-olds, 18 were for children under 5; 13 were for children aged 5-9 and nine were for 10-14 year-olds.

The figures differ to the number of dog attacks on people reported to the Dunedin City Council.

Ninety-seven were reported in the 2010- 2011 financial year, and 69 in 2009- 2010.

Council environment health-animal control team leader Ros MacGill said the difference may be because not all attacks were reported.

"For instance if it is a family pet nipping a family member, they are not necessarily going to notify the DCC," she said.

Senior animal control officer Jim Pryde said all dog attacks on a person reported to the council were investigated.

If an attack caused a serious injury the dog could be put down, which in most cases the dog's owners agreed with.

In less serious cases, for instance a dog nipping a postal worker, the dog could be classified as either menacing or dangerous.

A "menacing" dog had to wear a muzzle when outside its owner's property, and both menacing and dangerous dogs had to be either neutered or speyed.

American Pit Bull Terriers, Brazilian Fila's, Dogo Argentinos and Japanese Tosas were automatically classified as dangerous dogs.

At the end of the 2010- 2011 financial year, there were 77 dogs classified as menacing due to behaviour and 128, almost all pit bulls, due to breed.

Another 10 dogs were classified as dangerous.

Mr Pryde said the council ran an education programme in schools where children were taught how to behave around dogs and recognise their "capability to attack".


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