Severe dog bite agony for the county

Guardian News
Guardian News
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Nearly five people are hospitalised every week with dog bites in South Yorkshire, according to new figures.

Over the past two years, 502 people have been admitted to hospitals across the county with severe bites which required treatment including facial, reconstructive and plastic surgery.

Many more people were treated in accident and emergency before being discharged.

The new figures were released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre and only relate to patients who were admitted to hospital.

Across the Rotherham borough, about one person each week was admitted because of a dog bite, the NHS figures reveal.

It was a similar case across the Barnsley and Doncaster boroughs which also each saw around one person a week admitted.

In Sheffield, 111 patients were hospitalised for dog bites between May 2011 and April 2012, while 116 were admitted the year before - about 10 a month.

The figures in South Yorkshire stayed static over the two years - 252 last year and 250 the year before - compared to a national rise of 5.2 per cent.

Nationally, dog bites accounted for 6,447 hospital admissions over the year, an increase of 5.2 per cent from the 6,127 admissions the previous year.

Analysis of the figures also found that slightly more men were admitted for dog bites or strikes than women.

Rates of admission were highest for young children, especially those aged between five and nine.

Rates of admission for men were similar between the ages of 15 and 50 before decreasing in older ages.

For women, however, admission to hospital rates were highest for those in their late forties to early fifties.

The Government has recognised dog attacks are a growing problem and new rules come into force today allowing courts to impose tougher sentences on owners.

From this week people whose out-of-control dogs injure someone could be given up to 18 months behind bars - up from the previous limit of 12 months in prison.