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Hampshire residents dogged by biting problem

The number of people bitten by dogs in Hampshire is more than double that of neighbouring county, Surrey

A Jack Russell Terrier bearing its teeth

More than 100 people in Hampshire were admitted to hospital between June 2012 and May last year following a bite or strike from a dog – the third highest number in the UK.

According to the new figures, around 6,000 people in the UK were admitted because of a dog attack during the 12-month period, an increase of 29 people from the previous year.

Hampshire’s total is the third worst with Oxfordshire coming first with 158 people being admitted to hospital, and Leeds in second with 157 victims.

In Surrey, only 51 people were admitted to hospital during the same period following a dog attack, a 10.5% decrease from the previous year.

A report on the figures, published by the Health & Social Care Information Centre, states that dog bites are most common in young children, particularly boys aged five to nine.

There have been several high profile dog attacks in recent months, including the death this week of a six-day-old baby in Wales who was killed by an Alaskan malamute.

It is estimated that around half of all children will be bitten by a dog at some point during their life, usually by either a family dog or pet that belongs to a friend or neighbour.

However, the report states it is difficult to estimate exactly how common animal bites are in England, as many people do not seek medical treatment or advice for minor bites.

Maria Dodsworth, 35, from Farnborough, said she was nipped by a dog while posting a piece of paper through a neighbouring letter box and is now campaigning for safety guards on letter boxes to be a legal requirment.

She went to the doctors about her bitten finger and is launching an e-petition to support her cause.

“I spoke to a postman and he said if you’re not sure about putting something through someone’s door, don’t do it,” she added.

“They should have a sign saying there’s a dog in the house. It is very sad, it can put people out of work and they have to pay for their medication.

“I would not like to go near anybody’s house unless I knew it was safe.”

In adults, most animal bites are to hands, arms, legs or feet and, due to their size, most attacks on children are to their face and usually involve their lips, nose or cheeks.

Non-fatal bites can also cause a risk of infection and medical attention is recommended from a GP or walk-in centre, however, if the bite wound is more severe or involves bones, joints or tendons then emergency treatment may be required.

The main injuries from dogs during the 12-month period were open wounds of wrists, hands, heads and forearms.

The rate of admission nationally for dog bites was highest in the nine and below age group with 1,080 cases and for other mammals, such as horses, foxes, cats and bite or stings, rates were highest in older age groups.

 
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