Animals provide numerous benefits to humans including companionship. Interaction with companion animals can enhance our physical and psychological health. However, when threatened or challenged, many animals will bite.
The vast majority of animal bites in the United States are inflicted by dogs. It is estimated that approximately five million persons in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year. Most dog bites are mild, but many result in injuries and infections that need medical care. Children are more than twice as likely as adults to be victims of dog bites.
Education of children in appropriate behavior around animals, responsibility of pet owners to properly train and restrain their animals, and enforcement of animal licensure and stray animal laws by local officials are all important components of an effective animal bite prevention program.