Recently, a report was released on the states with the highest numbers of dog bites and the associated treatment and insurance costs. Though many of the injuries inflicted could be attributed to animals described as a dangerous breed, in reality, any dog is capable of inflicting serious wounds. In the listings, Arizona came in at 15 for bites and insurance payouts.

The states were ranked in order from lowest to highest in both bites and overall costs. The lowest figures included in the report were 338 claims with a cost to insurers of approximately $13.4 million. Many of the reports involved attacks on postal employees. Here in Arizona, the number of reported bites was an estimated 393 bites with a total cost of approximately $17.5 million for insurance companies. Owners are held liable for the damages their pets inflict, provided the animal was not provoked and the victim was not unlawfully trespassing. 

Two of the highest costs were reported in Florida and California, with bites totalling more than 1,200 and 2,000 respectively, and insurers paying out more than $154 million in claims costs. In Florida, reports of bites average about three a day, and incidents in California have more than doubled since 2006. Officials in the Golden State blame the problem in part on more residents using larger dogs for protection purposes, and residents in the Sunshine State claim that no one responds to reports of aggressive dogs at large until after there has been an attack.

Pet owners are reminded that animals need to be exercised and cared for in the appropriate manner, including regular medical care. No matter the type of dog one encounters, any pet can pose a threat. Though the dogs included in the dangerous breed designation may be more inclined to cause serious injuries, any dog can bite under the wrong circumstances. Victims who have been injured by a pet in Arizona may seek compensation for their losses through the state’s civil justice system.