Thousands of Dog Bites Along Front Range Focus of I-News, 9News Analysis

Every day along the Front Range, at least eight people are bitten by dogs, according to a six-month investigation by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News and 9News.

9Wants to Know and I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS have been working together over the past six months on an unprecedented look at reported dog bites along the Front Range.

KUSA

9Wants to Know and I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS have been working together over the past six months on an unprecedented look at reported dog bites along the Front Range.

The investigation found that more than 6,000 dog bites were reported to police or animal control officials from Boulder to Colorado Springs in 2012 and 2013.

I-News and 9News collected dog bite information from most major jurisdictions around metro Denver over the past six months. The map depicting the bites shows just how extensive they are.

The analysis of bites also found:

  • Based on more detailed information from about 2,000 bites from three jurisdictions – El Paso County and its cities, Douglas County and Centennial – only about 4 percent were deemed severe with one in four considered moderate and the remainder labeled minor.
  • The same data showed bites to the hands were the most common, accounting for about 34 percent of the 2,000 bites. That was followed by leg bites, 23 percent. Bites to the face including eyes, noses and ears accounted for 19.4 percent and bites to the arms comprised 15 percent of the 2,000.
  • The highest number of bites were attributed to Labradors, but they are also overwhelmingly the most popular breed of dog along the Front Range. They were followed by German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Chihuahuas and Bulldogs, among the breeds that recorded the most bites, according to the analysis.

Not all jurisdictions provided the breed of the dogs involved in the bites, citing problems in correctly identifying them.

“If a dog has teeth, it has potential to bite,” Sgt. Stephen Romero, a 20-year veteran of Denver’s Animal Control, said. “If it’s in the right conditions [or] circumstance, it can potentially bite.”

Experts who spoke to reporter Jeremy Jojola of 9Wants to Know for the analysis typically categorized dogs into two categories when they bite: fear biters and aggressive biters.

“Just because a dog bites does not mean it’s a bad dog,” Alice Nightengale, Denver’s director of Animal Care and Control, told Jojola. “I think humans have a lot of responsibility for dog bites.”

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