DOG bites increased by the dozens across Herefordshire and Worcestershire last year according to new data.

NHS data has shown there were approximately 90 episodes of patients being treated in hospital for dog bites in the former NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG, in the year to March 2023.

This was up from 65 the year before. The figures are rounded and are not a count of people, as one person could be seen more than once within the year.

On Wednesday, July 12, three people were hurt in one dog attack on Boughton Avenue in St Johns, Worcester, including a woman who suffered potentially life-changing injuries and who was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. 

Police said the family killed the dog, which was a family pet, to prevent further injury. It was dead when the police arrived. 

On the same day, but in an unrelated incident, a nine-year-old boy suffered a serious leg injury caused by a dog at home in Portefields Road, Tolladine.

The dog was recovered by officers and is secured in kennels.

Chris Slight, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Evesham, said: "Around a third of all UK households now own a dog, and most dogs live harmoniously with their families without incident.

"Unfortunately, there does appear to be a rise in the number of dog bites and dog-related injuries and there isn’t a simple answer as to why this is.

"However, the increase also could be down to dogs not being able to access socialisation and training opportunities at critical stages of development during the pandemic.

"Dogs Trust would like to see a greater focus on interventions and solutions which reduce the risk of aggression occurring in the first place.

"We know that the majority of dog bites to children occur in the home by a known dog. Despite this, just this month, research from Dogs Trust revealed that 84 per cent of parents leave their children unsupervised around their dogs.

"We also want to see the existing dog control laws overhauled as they are currently not fit for purpose.

"Any new approach must be preventative, breed-neutral and evidence-based as research shows us that no breed of dog is more likely to be aggressive than another, and there is no evidence that the reported increase in dog attacks is down to one particular breed."

Nationally, there has also been a rising number of episodes of people in hospital because of dog bites, with a provisional 9,300 recorded in 2022-23.

It is an increase from 8,800 the year prior and the highest number since at least 2011.