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Posted by JDM on September 19, 2002 at 01:02:54:
Here are some statistics and their sources which may come in handy in thwarting some of the unfounded reptile legislation that some parts of the country are experiencing:
Each year, dog bites result in an average of 17 human deaths, 6,000 hospitilizations, and 330,000 emergency room visits[1-4]...
From January 1, 1995, through December 31, 1997, 6,293 animal attacks were reported to the city of Philadelphia(where this study was done). Of these cases, 5,390 (85.7 percent) were dog related, while the remaining 903 (14.3 percent) involved cats (633, or 10.1 percent); rats (39, or 0.6 percent); squirrels (35, or 0.6 percent); raccoons (three, or less than 0.1 percent); and ferrets, gerbils, groundhogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, horses, humans, mice, opossums, rabbits, skunks, snakes, and others (total of 193, or 3.1 percent)....
It is clear that even with the increasing popularity of "alternative" pets, dogs accounted for the majority of animal bites in the years 1995--1997, and that dogs continue to present the leading public health concern among domestic animals.
The above statements are select passages from an article published in the Journal of Environmental Health, April 2000 v62 i8 p17 by Jason W. Stull and Robert R. Hodge.
1. Weiss, H.B., J.H. Coben, and D.I. Friedman (1998),"Incedence of Dog Bite Injuries Treated in Emergency Departments," Journal of the American Medical Association, 279(1):51-53.
2. Sacks, J.J., S.E. Bonzo, and R.W. Sattin(1989), "Dog Bite--Related Fatalities from 1979 through 1988," Journal of the American Medical Association, 262(11):1489-1492
3. Sacks, J.J., J. Hornreich, R. Lockwood, and R.W. Sattin(1996), "Fatal Dog Attacks, 1989-1994," Pediatrics, 97:891-895
4. Quinlan, K.P., and J.J. Sacks (1999), "Hospitilizations for Dog Bite Injuries," Journal of the American Medical Association, 281(3):232-233.
It is interesting to note that humans and snakes were lumped into the same category in the above data. There is also some good information pertaining to fatalities caused by reptiles on Melissa Kaplan's page. Here is the URL:http://www.anapsid.org/pdv-boid.html
Here is the majority of the content from the link:
Reptiles are very scary creatures to many people. Some reptiles, like many other animals kept as pets, can cause devastating wounds, transmit diseases to humans, and should always be treated with care and respect, no matter how tame they are. To put fears in perspective, the following facts are presented:
Human Deaths Caused By Animals
Human Deaths by Accidents
Type of Accident
Per Year (avg. 1986-88)
Drowning during sports/recreation5
Domestic wiring and appliances5
Estimated human injuries by Horses in US in 1991: 71,4906
Number of dog bites reported in Contra Costa County, CA in 1996: 4007
35% of US homes have dogs
80% of all animal bites are from dogs
900 dog bite victims are treated in emergency rooms every day
Per the CDC, there are over 4.7 million dog bites a year (nearly 2% of the U.S. population); 800,000 of them serious enough to require hospitalization
1. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) estimated 105 deaths per year, but this would be low because many horse related injuries do not go to emergency rooms but to morgues (Bixby-Hammett, 1990). The figure 219 was determined using medical examiner figures and population (Bixby-Hammett, 1990).
2. National Safety Council, Accident Facts, 1991 Edition, average between 1986-1988. Note: According to more recent CDC figures, the total number of deaths from dog bites between 1979-1994 was 279, or an average of 17.4 per year. There were an additional 25 deaths from dog attacks in 1995-1996. (MMWR, May 30, 1997 / 46(21);463-466 Dog-Bite-Related Fatalities -- United States, 1995-1996). A letter published in the 1999 Journal of the American Medical Association highlights the cost of dog-bite related hospitalizations.
3. Average between 1978 and 1988 (see McCarthy, V.O., Cox, R.A. and Haglund, B. 1989. "Death caused by a constricting snake - an infant death." Journal of Forensic Sciences, 31(1):239-243). There may have been one additional death by a Burmese python during that time period which would raise the figure for the Burmese to 0.2.
4. There is a rumor of one individual in the U.S. killed by a green anaconda but we have not yet been able to substantiate this.
5. Compiled from the National Safety Council, Accident Facts 1991 Edition, average between 1986-1988.
6. Figures from National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a part of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. NEISS recorded horse-related accidents that go to emergency rooms at identified hospitals. The majority of the accidents (48.6%) occurred at home.
7. NBC Evening News, September 1996. This was frequently announced in news stories on the air in the aftermath of several attacks by pitbulls and rottweilers in the (San Francisco, CA) bay area in the fall and winter of 1996. This does not include the dog maulings occurring in the area in 2000-2001, including one fatal attack.
It is getting late, so I will continue on with some more statistics within a few days. I hope that some of this information can be valuable to some their fight to disprove that reptiles should be considered "dangerous" or "ferocious", as is the wording used in much of new proposed legislation that I have read recently.