Number of dog attack injuries treated at Ipswich Hospital significantly increased in the last two years

This woman was attacked by a dog in Ipswich

This woman was attacked by a dog in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

The number of dog attack injuries treated at Ipswich Hospital have gone up significantly over the last two years, according to new statistics.

The data, which was released under a freedom of information request, shows there has been a year-on-year increase from 2007 to 2013 - with the biggest leaps seen over the last two years.

In 2007, 138 injuries were treated at Ipswich Hospital, compared to 241 last year and 229 until the end of September this year. The biggest increase was from 168 in 2012 to 241 in 2013.

Experts have claimed the number of attacks is likely to rise due to increasing dog ownership and also blamed owners who mismanage their pets.

Sarah Connell, 55, a dog trainer from Best Buddies Dog Training in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: “From my point of view it may be caused by mismanagement. If people get to know their dogs and learn to understand their body language, it may not happen so much, because it depends on the dog’s background as well.

“However, the statistics do not tell the background of the incidents - if you are playing with your dog, you might get bitten by accident with no malicious intent.”

The data from Ipswich Hospital does not specify how many of the injuries treated were as a result of accidents and how many were specific dog attacks.

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The Kennel Club, an organisation which works to protect the health and welfare of dogs, believes the rise in the number of injuries may be directly linked to the rise in the number of dogs itself.

Caroline Kisko, secretary of Kennel Club, said: “As NHS figures relate to patients with a dog-related injury, which may have been caused through a dog nipping someone, colliding with someone, or simply an owner tripping over their dog, the figures may be linked to the increase in the dog population.

“There are more dogs than ever in the UK, with an estimated 9 million across the country, so this is likely to be reflected in the Ipswich area and may explain the increase in dog-related injuries.

“These figures highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership, which includes properly training and socialising a dog and ensuring they are kept mentally and physically stimulated through a good amount of exercise, to ensure they are able to function well in society and live up to their status as man’s best friend.”