The dog responsible for the highest number of attacks on people is not the usual suspect. It is a Labrador Retriever, according to insurance data.
The Labrador Retriever is responsible for the highest number of personal injury claims filed by people bitten by dogs in an insurance survey.
Liverpool Echo reports:
The data, from leading pet insurer Animal Friends, also revealed that almost a third of claims come from from postal and delivery workers. The dog breed most responsible for attacks on posties is the German Shepherd, followed by the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Border Collie.
Dog attack injuries cost the NHS £20,000 with patients needing surgery, psychological treatment, nerve grafts, pins and plates.
More than half of claims by delivery workers were due to dogs not being kept properly secure. According to the data, the majority of incidents happened after a dog pushed past its owner, while others got through an open gate.
This week it was revealed that dog attacks are more common on Merseyside than anywhere else in the country, with 322 victims seeking medical help in 2014/2015.
The information, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, ranked Merseyside as the worst affected area, ahead of Durham, Darlington and Tees and Thames Valley.
Shockingly, it was the second time Merseyside topped the table and has inspired the University of Liverpool to try and understand why. The institution’s People, Animals and their Health in Society (PATHS) group is set to research the issue as part of its work on “health in people and animals”.
Led by Dr Rob Christley, Dr Francine Watkins, Dr Carri Westgarth and Professor Liz Perkins, the group has been working with Merseyside Police, Royal Mail, the Communication Workers Union and other agencies to consider how dog bite incidents are responded to and recorded.
A PhD programme funded by the university and the Dogs Trust is also examining how the public and postal workers can be protected from dog injuries.
Dr Christley said: “Currently, we do not have enough information about how dog bites occur and the full effect they have on those who are injured.
“In the course of this work, we have identified that a wide range of agencies are involved in managing or preventing injuries arising from dogs. However, currently the extent to which these efforts are coordinated is limited.”
Dog attacks have long been seen as a key issue in Liverpool and the surrounding area.
The tragic 2009 death of Wavertree four-year-old John-Paul Massey inspired calls for tougher dog laws – including a bid to see dangerous dogs muzzled both in public places and in owners’ homes.
That incident, and others, also sparked the ECHO’s own Bite Back campaign.
Other horrific dog attacks include the death of Clubmoor pensioner Clifford Clarke, who was mauled to death by his neighbours’ starving presa canario.
The university’s newly-launched Merseyside Dog Safety Partnership will coordinate, develop and lead local efforts to reduce dog bites and assess their impact.
Dr Christley added: “An initial goal of this collaboration will be to identify key targets for intervention to minimise the risk and impacts of dog bites and to develop an essential method to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.”
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