As part of an evaluation of Dutch breed specific legislation, data were collected from dog bite victims (1078) and dog owners (6139) using Internet surveys. The incidence rate of dog bites and details of incidents (victims, injuries, circumstances and aggressors) are reported and the justification for using breed specific measurements to deal with dog bites are considered. For aggressors, attack records for breed groups and popular breeds were established by calculating breed risk indices using a reference population. Several breeds and breed groups were over- and under-represented in the biting population and there was a mismatch between risk indices and the then-current legislation. Mitigation strategies should not be based on attack records (since this would lead to the rejection of a significant proportion of the canine population) but on the circumstances of the incidents. Preventative measures must focus on a better understanding of how to handle dogs.
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