WARNINGS have been stepped up about the risks of attacks by dogs ahead of the peak summer months after new figures revealed Yorkshire has some of the highest rates of incidents in the country.
In 2013, dog bites and strikes caused more than 6,700 hospital admissions in England - up six per cent from the previous year.
Attacks were three times more likely in deprived areas. Hull saw the third highest rate of incidents with 85 reported last year, while south and east Leeds saw 76 incidents which was the fifth highest rate among 210 NHS clinical commissioning groups. Wakefield had 92 incidents and the sixth highest rate of hospital admissions per 100,000 people.
Overall, West Yorkshire saw the third highest rate of attacks among 25 NHS areas nationwide, according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
North Yorkshire and the Humber area also saw 139 hospital admissions of people bitten or attacked by other mammals among them rats - the third highest rate in England.
Children aged up to nine years old accounted for the highest number of admissions after dog bites. The most common wounds were injuries to the wrist or hand.
The figures also suggested that the attacks were more common in the summer.
There have been a number of dog attacks in Yorkshire among them an incident in December when pregnant mother-of-four Emma Bennett, 27, suffered fatal injuries due to multiple bites when she was attacked by two dogs in a house in Leeds.
In August, a two-year-old girl suffered serious injuries to her head and leg after being bitten by a rottweiler in Rotherham. A 13-year-old boy was left with severe facial injuries in the same month after being attacked by a dog in Bradford. The animal was shot dead by police.
Researchers found rates of hospital admissions were three times higher for people from poor areas compared to their wealthier neighbours.
Out of every 100,000 people who live in the most deprived areas of England there were 24 people admitted to hospital because of a dog attack. In the richest regions, there were eight admissions for every 100,000 people.
Overall, bites and strikes from other mammals such as horses, foxes and cats accounted for 2,970 admissions - a 10 per cent increase compared to the previous 12 months.
Plastic surgeon Richard Milner, of the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle which has the highest rate of dog attacks in the country, said injuries varied from simple puncture wounds which required cleaning and antibiotics to more serious injuries which needed surgery. He said victims of more severe attacks were “very traumatised” by their injuries.
“More severe injuries involve defensive wounds to the hands and forearms and facial bites particularly in children,” he said.
“They are uncommon but nasty when they occur.”
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, said with summer approaching it was a good time for parents to speak to their children about dog safety.
“Dogs are a huge part of our lives in Britain and children are naturally curious and excited to be around them, so it is crucial that they are taught from an early age how best to interact with them,” she said.