Cat and dog bites can seriously injure people

Americans own about 60 million dogs and about 57 million cats. Whether they are dog people or cat people, Albany residents value their pets for good reason. Dogs and cats offer us companionship at home and on walks to the park. However, pet owners must be cautious regarding their pets. If an animal attacks and injures a person, the injury victim is legally entitled to seek compensation from the owner of that animal.

In an average year, about five million Americans are bitten by an animal, and the vast majority of animal bites are inflicted by domestic pets. In fact, about 80 percent of animal bites are inflicted by dogs; about 15 percent of animal bites are inflicted by cats.

Many animal bites inflict only minor injuries, but about 500,000 people are seriously injured by animal attacks each year and require medical attention. Of people who suffer an animal attack, 4 percent need to be hospitalized and 20 people die in an average year from an animal attack.

Dog bites often happen to a person's hands, which are especially vulnerable to injuries such as tendon damage, which require surgical repair. Rabies is a very serious complication of any animal bite. Despite vaccination efforts, rabies infections cause deaths to this day.

However, rabies is not the only disease that can be spread when a pet bites a person. When a cat bites a person with its sharp fangs, those teeth can inject harmful bacteria deep into a person's tissue. In some cases, a serious and debilitating infection can happen within 12 hours.

Many cat and dog bites require medical attention, and treatment can be quite expensive in serious cases. If you or a member of your family has been hurt by another person's pet, an experienced personal injury attorney can inform of your legal rights.

Source:, "Animal bites and rabies in the dog days of summer," Dr. Robert Pape, Aug. 31, 2011


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