Dog Bite Statistics in Virginia - Infographic

Dog Bite Statistics in Virginia

More than 36% of U.S. households own at least one dog.

They provide many benefits to owner.

  • Help to reduce stress.
  • Allow opportunities to get exercise.
  • Serve as great companions for children.

For many people, dogs are more than pets. They are like family members. Still, dogs are animals. They can attack and cause devastating injuries. They may bite people:

  • Due to being startled, scared or threatened.
  • Out of a need to protect themselves or their puppies.
  • Being overly excited or playful.

How Often Do Dog Bites Occur?

Dog bites occur more often in Virginia and throughout the country than you might imagine.

  • An estimated 4.7 million people in the U.S. suffer dog bites each year.
  • In other words, every year, dogs bite roughly 1 in 69 people in our country.
  • Nearly 800,000 dog bite victims each year require medical attention.
  • Between 2005 and 2017, dog attacks killed at least 433 Americans.

How Often Do Dog Bite Victims File Claims?

Homeowners insurance typically covers dog bite claims. (Some insurance policies exclude dog bite coverage or have breed-specific exclusions.) In 2017 alone:

  • Victims filed an estimated 18,522 dog bite claims in our country.
  • Dog bite claims totaled close to $700 million – or 1/3 of all homeowners’ liability claim dollars that insurers paid out.
  • The average cost per dog bite claim in the U.S. was $37,051.

In Virginia during 2017:

  • Victims filed 385 dog bite liability claims.
  • The average cost per claim was $36,167.21.
  • The total value of all dog bite claims was $13.92 million.
  • The state had the 17th highest number of claims in the country.

Who Do Dogs Attack?

More than half of dog bite injuries occur in homes with dogs that are familiar to the victims.

  • Adults with two or more dogs in their household are five times more likely to suffer a dog bite injury than those with no dogs in the home.
  • Between 2005 and 2017, family dogs inflicted 54% of all fatal attacks.
  • Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are the most likely to suffer dog bite injuries. Nearly half of fatal dog bite victims between 2005 and 2017 were under age 9.

Strangers face danger when they encounter dogs as well, including postal workers, utility workers and other visitors to dog owners’ property.

  • In 2017, dogs attacked 6,244 postal workers in the U.S. (17 per day).

What Are the Most Dangerous Dog Breeds?

Three dog breeds accounted for roughly 80% of all fatal dog attacks in the U.S. between 2005 and 2017. Those breeds are:

  • Pit bulls
    284 fatal attacks, 65.6% of the total
  • Rottweilers
    45 fatal attacks, 10.4% of the total
  • German shepherds
    20 fatal attacks, 4.6% of the total

What Injuries Do Dog Bite Injury Victims Suffer?

Dogs can inflict a wide range of serious and potentially fatal injuries when they attack.

  • Dog bites send nearly 316,200 victims to emergency rooms each year.
  • In 2015 alone, dog bites led to 28,000 reconstructive surgery procedures in the U.S.

Some of the most common dog bite injuries are:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Damage to tissue, bones, tendons and nerves
  • Emotional trauma

Infections and spread of disease major concerns with dog bites.

  • Dogs can carry as many as 60 different kinds of bacteria in their mouths.
  • An estimated 18% of dog bite victims suffer bacteria-related infections.

Dog bite can cause illness such as:

  • Rabies
  • Capnocytophaga infection
  • Pasteurella infection
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection
  • Tetanus infection.

What Should You Do If a Dog Attacks?

If a dog attacks you in Virginia, try to take as many of the following steps as possible:

  • Apply pressure if you suffer a deep wound.
  • Wash the wound with soap and water.
  • Apply antibiotic cream.
  • Cover the wound with a bandage.
  • Call 911 for emergency medical attention (if necessary).
  • See a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Keep the clothes you wore when attacked.
  • Take photos of the dog, the scene of the attack and your wounds.
  • Get names and phone numbers of the dog owner or keeper and any witnesses.
  • Report the dog attack to local animal control or law enforcement.

Virginia Animal Control Numbers

If you face an emergency after a dog attack, call 911 to report the incident to local law enforcement. In a non-emergency situation, you can call your local animal control. Here are local Virginia animal control numbers:

  • Richmond (804) 646-5573 Charlottesville (434) 977-9041
  • Harrisonburg (540) 434-4436 Tappahannock (804) 443-0726
  • Chesterfield (804) 748-1683 Louisa (540) 967-1234
  • Hopewell (804) 541-2204 Fredericksburg (540) 373-3122
  • Petersburg (804) 732-3654 Staunton (540) 332-3842

Contact our Virgina Dog Bite Lawyers Today!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite or animal attack in Virginia, call us today! Our experienced lawyers at Marks & Harrison will be waiting to talk to you about your case. Do not hesitate, call us today.



Marks & Harrison was founded in 1911 by David A. Harrison, Jr. and has continued its practice uninterrupted since that time. For more than three generations our attorneys have represented the families of Virginia.