According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), almost 4.7 million dog bite incidents occur in the United States each year. Of that number, 800,000 dog bites result in medical treatment of some sort. With that said, 81% of dog bites cause only minor injuries or no injury at all. As you can see, there is a large variation in the level of seriousness that results from a dog bite. Due to this, dog behavior specialists use a scale to identify the seriousness of each incident. This scale helps them diagnose aggression issues in order to provide owners with a proper prognosis.
Dr. Ian Dunbar created a 6-level scale that assesses how dangerous a dog really is. This allows us to put the situation into context, ultimately helping the dog, the dog’s owner, and the victim. This is currently the most commonly used dog bite scale.
Level 1 Bite: Under this category, the dog air bites and makes no contact with the person. This usually means that the dog was trying to scare another dog or human so that he or she will leave them alone. With that said, owners should get help before this air bite turns into an actual bite by learning the dogs signs of fear and anxiety.
Level 2 Bite: The dog’s teeth makes contact with skin, but there is no puncture. They are a little more serious about their aggression and will take it a step further to let you know he/she needs to be left alone.
Level 3 Bite: One to four tooth punctures occur from a single bite resulting in a puncture wound no deeper than half the length of the dog’s tooth. Although this bite may not seem severe, it presents a threat to people and other animals and is reportable.
Level 4 Bite: One to four punctures from a single bite occur with at least one deeper than half the length of the dog’s teeth. As a result, there may be deep bruising around the wounds from the dog shaking its head side to side. The dog needs to be kept away from people and other animals until professional help is sought out.
Level 5 Bite: At this level, there are multiple Level 4 bites and/or multiple attacks. This dog is not safe around people or other animals. Many behavior specialists and behaviorists recommend euthanasia because of the danger to others and the poor quality of life the dog would have in solitary confinement. At this level, the bite could kill a child.
Level 6 Bite: The victim is killed.
Almost all dog bites are categorized in Levels 1 or 2, and a very small majority get to Level 3 or higher. With that said, it is always important to get professional help as soon as you see any slight sign of aggression from your dog. This allows you to fix the issue while it is still small. If help is not sought out after smaller incidents, the dog’s aggression will build up resulting in the possibility of higher risk incidents occurring in the future.
A dog bite can cause immense terror, pain, and even death. After the incident occurs, a victim can be burdened with medical bills, emotional trauma, and lost time working. In these situations, the owner of the aggressive animal should be held responsible, as they have neglected to properly train their dog. The dog bite attorneys at Spiros Law P.C. understand that the victims of these attacks deserve financial compensation and will fight until the victim’s needs are taken care of. If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite, contact us at (217) 443-4343 to discuss the specifics of your case.