Dog bite injuries on the rise in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Dog bite injuries on the rise in Michigan

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Dog bites can happen in an instant, and many times it’s not because a dog is vicious, but was provoked or startled.

In 2016, State Farm reported paying over $121 million as a result of 3,660 dog bite claims across the country - an increase of 15 percent.  

In Michigan, over 160 dog bite claims were reported to the insurance company in 2016. Reported claims spiked 33 percent from 2015-2016, bumping it up in the category of state with the most claims from seventh to sixth.

The average dog bite claim in Michigan cost about $26,500.

State Farm said children make up fifty percent of dog-bite victims. The Center for Disease Control estimates half of all children 14 and younger have been bitten by a dog.

Many times you see small children excitedly running up to a dog to pet it.

Unfortunately, experts say not all dogs understand this as a gesture of innocent love. It’s important to be aware of our dogs, other people’s dogs and our children.

Renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell works with State Farm on educating people about responsible dog ownership and understanding dog body language.

She recommends the following tips to keep people safe from dog bites.

  • Learn canine body language. Too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. For example, a dog that yawns might not necessarily be tired. Yawning can also be a sign of stress.
  • Give dogs space. Dogs can feel threatened when strange people touch them, so take pressure off by giving them the choice to come into your space first to say hello.
  • Be humane. Dogs that are raised and trained humanely are more confident and less likely to bite than dogs that are trained using punitive methods or equipment designed to intimidate and cause pain.  
State Farm: Top 10 States for Dog-Related Injury Claims
State Number of dog-related injury claims Amount paid
California 433 claims $16.8 million
Illinois 323 claims $13.9 million
Ohio 211 claims $7.5 million
Pennsylvania 200 claims $4.8 million
Texas 168 claims $3.1 million
Michigan 167 claims $4.4 million
New York 156 claims $10.4 million
Indiana 137 claims $3.0 million
Georgia 125 claims $3.4 million
Minnesota 122 claims $3.3 million

For more information on how to prevent dog bites, click here

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