A survey of adult victims of dog bites in New Zealand

A survey of adult victims of dog bites in New Zealand
Peer reviewed


AIM: To describe the circumstances of dog bites to adults in New Zealand, in order to better understand factors associated with these bites.
METHODS: A questionnaire was sent to 1,800 adults aged ≥16 years who had made claims to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in 2002 as a result of dog bites.
RESULTS: Five hundred and thirty-five questionnaires were returned; 50% of respondents were male, and 30% of bites were reported to local authorities. Most injuries were to the legs or hand. More people were bitten by male dogs than female dogs. A disproportionate number of bites took place in rural areas, but the most common locations for attacks were streets/walkways, and the victim’s home. Protection of territory, accidental bites, fear, and pain were considered to be the most common reasons for dogs to bite.
CONCLUSION: Many victims were bitten in situations that could have been avoided.
KEY WORDS: Dog bite, survey, Accident Compensation Corporation

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