A senior Yorkshire facial surgeon has called for young children to be given lessons on how to behave around dogs as part of efforts to halt a recent “explosion” of bite injuries.
Christopher Mannion, a maxillofacial surgeon based at Leeds General Infirmary, says authorities need to collect more data on dog bite injuries to understand the true scale of the problem.
He says hospital admissions from dog bite injuries have increased 550 per cent since 1990 but that more effort needs to be made to discover what has caused the increase.
The 43-year-old, who has been a consultant since 2011, has now carried out his own research alongside two senior veterinarians and is teaching trainee vets how to recognise signs of canine aggression.
Mr Mannion said there had been “a massive explosion of dog bite injuries” in the last two decades and that the rising number of such incidents was now a “public health issue”.
He said: “Dog bites can affect anyone of any age. Bites to the head, face and neck happen more frequently in children.
“Prevention is better than cure, and the goal must be to aim to reduce the total number of injuries, which can be done with simple educational strategies to all people, but especially to the young, with simple teaching on how to behave around dogs.”
The Yorkshire Post last month revealed that a dramatic rise in the number of dangerous dogs being seized has prompted Yorkshire’s biggest police force to invest in 20 new kennels to cope with demand.