A survey of adult victims of dog bites in New Zealand

N Z Vet J. 2009 Dec;57(6):364-9. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2009.60928.


Aim: To describe the circumstances of dog bites to adults in New Zealand, in order to better understand factors associated with these bites.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to 1,800 adults aged > or =16 years who had made claims to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) in 2002 as a result of dog bites.

Results: Five hundred and thirty-five questionnaires were returned; 50% of respondents were male, and 30% of bites were reported to local authorities. Most injuries were to the legs or hand. More people were bitten by male dogs than female dogs. A disproportionate number of bites took place in rural areas, but the most common locations for attacks were streets/walkways, and the victim's home. Protection of territory, accidental bites, fear, and pain were considered to be the most common reasons for dogs to bite.

Conclusion: Many victims were bitten in situations that could have been avoided.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / complications
  • Bites and Stings / epidemiology*
  • Dogs*
  • Euthanasia, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insurance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Young Adult