When people think of factors that contribute to dog bite incidents, they often think of situations where a specific dog is either dangerous or provoked. People may not consider outside factors and influences that could be contributing to a higher risk of dog bites on a larger scale.
However, researchers from Stanford say that environmental changes could affect animal bite incidences. In fact, they say that climate change and developmental changes in cities could lead to an increase in animal bites in the near future.
A changing environment
Our environment is changing, in terms of both climate and living conditions. Global warming and developmental sprawl are contributing to higher temperatures and decreasing land sizes. This, according to researchers, means that people and animals are in overlapping environments. And residents in moderate climates, including Illinois, are experiencing increasing risks of bites by mosquitoes and ticks.
In other words, our changing environment is making it easier for people and animals to be in contact.
How big of a problem is this?
At this point, it may be difficult to see a connection between a changing environment and incidences of animal bites; particularly when it comes to animals like dogs and cats.
However, when people are living closer to these animals, which have increasingly less space of their own, it makes sense that the risk of injury could increase. As such, it is as important as ever for pet owners to be responsible and residents to use caution around animals.
Already, animal bites lead more than $1 billion in health care costs per year in the U.S. And dog and cat bites are among the most common types of bites that emergency doctors see.
People suffer serious injuries and illnesses after these events; some could be fatal or life-threatening. As such, it is crucial for bite victims to seek immediate medical attention and then take steps to review their legal and financial options. In many case, an owner or other party can be liable for injuries cause by an animal, so it can be prudent to consult an attorney.