Lincoln sees increase in serious dog bites

(Source: KOLN).
Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 10:17 PM CST
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Right here in Lincoln, over the last three years, the number of dog bites is rising.

So is the number of bites requiring ER visits.

Now we're hearing from animal control who says there are some things they're going to change going forward.

10/11 NOW sat down with the manager for animal control who says while there is no definitive answer as to why these dog bites continue to increase, he thinks that a lack of education is playing a big part.

"Bites are an injury to people oftentimes severe, so we're oftentimes most concerned about those dog bites that end up with a person having to go to an emergency room for assistance. That number has been going up,” said Steve Beal.

A graph shows the increase from 118 incidents requiring ER visits in 2017, to 185 in 2019.

That's a 57% increase.

Animal control's goal is to keep dog bites requiring ER visits to less than 60 incidents per 100,000 people.

And for the first time in 2019, they didn't meet that goal.

"If I had to single out one thing, it would be I wish we had more time to do education, get back into the schools,” said Beal.

Officers have found 20% of dog bites happen to children and they say education could make all the difference.

"Little kids wanting to hug that puppy getting in its face, the puppy doesn't want them there, and there's a bite happening,” said Animal Control Officer, Cheryl Bomberger.

Beal says 11 years ago the department stopped having an officer dedicated to speaking at schools due to time but he acknowledges going forward they need to change things.

"I'm looking at ways in how I can use our animal control officers and our staff and our resources to re-ignite what we're doing out in the community in the way of education. It is critical,” said Beal.

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