North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg Area Reports Over 550 Dog Bite Incidents This Year

November 20, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Injuries from dog bites can be more serious than you think—especially if you are mauled or attacked by a large or dangerous dog.

In North Carolina, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area is reporting more than 550 dog bite incidents this year so far. Children and the elderly tend to be at highest risk for being attacked by a dog.

North Carolina has a dog bite law that holds the owner of the dog strictly liable for injuries inflicted by the pet on another person or another person’s property if the pet was unrestrained when the attack occurred. That said, the owner must have allowed the dog to run at large at night, the dog must be of a certain age, and the injured victim must prove that the dog owner knowingly and purposely allowed the dog to be at large without restraint.

If a victim incurs a serious dog bite injury when the dog was not “running at large,” the dog owner can be held strictly if the dog was previously declared a “potentially dangerous dog.” A dog is declared “potentially dangerous” if it has killed or injured another animal while not on the owner’s property or previously terrorized or seriously terrorized a human being.

Dog bite injuries can range from minor bite marks to serious injuries, including abrasions, punctures, lacerations, tissue loss, fractured bones, facial injuries, permanent disfigurement, scars, rabies, infection, and death. Emotional and mental trauma can also result. Some mauling injuries, especially to the face, may require multiple surgeries (including reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery).

Every year, about 800,000 people require medical care for their dog bite injuries. Some 4.7 million people a year are attacked by dogs. 15-20 dog bite injury victims die annually.

In 2004, the following dog breeds topped the CDC’s list of dangerous dogs:

• Pit bulls
• Rottweilers
• German Shepherds
• Huskies
• Alaskan Malamutes
• Doberman Pinschers
• Chow Chows
• Great Danes
• St. Bernards
• Akitas

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dog in North Carolina or South Carolina, an experienced dog bite lawyer may be able to help you prove that the dog attack occurred because the owner was negligent.

Defending yourself against a dangerous dog, WCNC, November 14, 2007

North Carolina Dog Bite Law

CDC’s 10 Most Dangerous Dogs List, Free Republic, January 14, 2004

Related Web Resource:

Dog Bite Statistics, The Pet Friendly House