Monday, February 28, 2011

New South Wales Dog Attacks

In 2008, New South Wales required all councils to report dog bites within 72 hours. Every three months, a dog attack report is published. Four breeds of dogs are "banned" in New South Wales, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, Fila, Tosa, and Dogo.

New South Wales puts out quarterly bite reports here.

I've included the 2009 statistics as well. The reason for the significant disparity is that 2009 is the first year in which reports were issued and up to 40% of councils were not reporting their data. 2010 is probably a slightly better reflection of reported dog bites. As the years go by, the pattern and numbers will be even more statistically significant, although still based on eye witness reports and not on pedigree information as it pertains to the dogs themselves.

The data below represents dog-human bites. Data is available for dog-animal attacks, but I have chosen not to include that. You can find that information at the link, along with breed (based on eye witness reports) information as well.

The ultimate take home point, if you don't want to bother with percentages is this: Most dogs in New South Wales do not bite. When they do, they will more often than not cause you no harm. 

Adults       Child  No Injury Minor Med treat Hospital Death
536 130 342 163 131 30
583 174 420 172 134 31
613 196 433 208 134 34
514 167 351 175 134 24
2246 667 1546 718 533 119

In the year of 2010, there were between 1.28-1.30 million microchipped/registered dogs in New South Wales. Of those dogs, 6,587 bit a human being or another animal. That represents less than 0.5% of the total registered dog population. New South Wales does not have a 100% compliance rate, so that number is probably larger.

New South Wales has an approximate 2010 population of 7.24 million people. In 2010, 0.04% of the population was bitten or aggressed by dogs. Comforting statistics when combined with the fact that only 0.5% of the registered dog population was responsible.
  • 53% of dog-human aggressive interactions resulted in NO INJURY
  • 25% resulted in MINOR injuries
  • 18.3% resulted in MEDICALtreatment
  • 4% resulted in HOSPITAL treatment
That means human beings encountering potentially aggressive and/or dangerous dog had a 78% chance of walking away with minor or no injuries. That is a welcome percentage.

53% of all bites inflicted on humans and nonhumans were from one dog. 37% were from two dogs. That means, 90% of all dog bites in New South Wales were inflicted by 1-2 dogs, not packs.

Each year, cities and councils in New South Wales put out news articles in response to these dog bite reports. the Blacktown Advocate is no different with their report that puts Blacktown as the "most dangerous" spot for dog bites. Blacktown is a suburb in Sydney with a 2006 population of around 39,000. With an annual 1.4-1.7% increase in population, it would be fair to presume the current population is around 41,300. In 2010, 299 residents were bitten - around 0.7%.

I'm not sure why local areas want to make such a negative spin, painting dogs as a menace to society.  So Blacktown reports 0.7% residents bitten. Cessnock, population 19,000 reports about 0.6% bitten. Cessnock has fewer people but has similar dog:people ratios with similar proportions of dog attacks. Blacktown isn't particularly special for a suburban area in New South Wales.

Here is 2009 data:

2009 Dog Bites

Adults Child > 16 No Injury Minor Med Treat Hospital Death
291 75 196 85 61 23 1
355 86 213 120 84 24 0
375 108 218 123 126 16 0
355 115 222 122 106 20 0

1376 384 849 450 377 83 1

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