ALMOST one person a week is hospitalised from a dog bite in Sunderland.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, there were 46 admissions from May 2011 to April 2012.
Of those, 15 victims were aged 19 or under.
The second highest affected age group was 20 to 39-year-olds, with 12 hospital admissions.
“Dog bites can be very serious,” said a spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland.
“And we would encourage all members of the public to seek medical help immediately if they suffer from attacks.
“Dog owners should also take great care to ensure their pets are under control at all times and cannot pose a threat to the public.
“Children are particularly vulnerable to dogs which are not properly controlled and parents should also be aware of protecting them from any close contact.”
Dave Morson, from Washington, knows only too well the damage that dog bites can cause.
His five-year-old grandson Karl Morson, from Sulgrave, was attacked by a rotweiller last year as he played just yards away from his home.
“I still don’t think they are doing enough,” said the 71-year-old.
“I think the Government should be doing more to stop dangerous dogs.
“I feel sorry for all the kids who have been bitten.
“They are the ones who will be left disfigured, and then can’t get a penny for it.”
And Dave said the Government should have a fund for children who have been mauled by dogs.
“There should be some money to help these kids cope with life. They may need plastic surgery in the future.”
Mr Morson also believes that the problem lies with certain breeds of dogs.
“I think it’s a dangerous dog problem. People keep these dogs as security measures.
“That’s all fine and good, but when you have dogs who attack people, it’s totally wrong.”
In County Durham, the number of dog-bite hospital admissions rose from 75 to 99, compared to the previous year.
The worst affected age group was under-19s, with numbers increasing from 28 to 37.
Second was 20 to 39-year-olds with 22 hospital admissions.
A spokeswoman for County Durham and NHS foundation Trust said: “It is not uncommon for us to see dog bite injuries within the A&E department.
“We serve a rural area, which may indicate a higher number of dogs being kept either as pets or as working dogs.
“It is important to raise awareness about the responsibility of dog owners for the safe keeping of their pets, and also should anyone suffer a dog bite the importance of seeking medical assistance either from a GP, urgent care centre or if serious an A&E department.”
Admission rates per head of population were highest in the North East Strategic Health Authority, with 551 admissions in total.