MORE than 30 people needed urgent hospital treatment in Sunderland after being attacked by dogs over a 12-month period, new figures show.
Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) say that 36 people used NHS services in the city after being the victim of attacks by the animals.
The report also highlights that people living in deprived areas are three times more likely to be attacked by dogs compared to those who live in the least deprived areas.
In the 12 months from February 2013 to January this year, the rate for hospital admissions for dog bites for people living in the 10 per cent most deprived areas was 24.1 per 100,000 (1,240 admissions), compared to an admission rate of 8.1 per 100,000 (428 admissions) in the 10 per cent of least deprived areas.
The Echo reported in June last year how 14-year-old Meghan Reynolds, of Grindon, had to have 48 stitches after she was savaged by a German Shepherd in Herrington Country Park.
Sandhill View School pupil Meghan was out in the park with friends when the animal, which was being held by its owner on a long lead, suddenly turned on her.
“It’s a bit of a blur,” said Meghan.
“I was with my friends, and one of them stroked the dog.
“The next I knew, it had grabbed me and I was on the floor with the dog attacking my face.”
Following the attack, the dog was destroyed.
Meghan’s mum Carol, 39, today told the Echo: “I think you can tell that dog attacks are getting more and more frequent.
“You hear about them happening all the time, and with the warm weather coming back now parents and kids need to be aware of the dangers.
“Meghan won’t even go back to the park because of what happened to her.”
The past year has seen an increase in hospital admissions caused by dogs and other animals – such as horses, foxes and cats.
In the 12 months to January 2014 there were a total of 9,710 hospital admissions nationally – an increase of seven per cent on the previous 12 months when there were 9,080 admissions.
Kingsley Manning, chairman of the HSCIC, said: “This report shows that hospital admissions for bites and strikes by dogs are three times as high in the most deprived areas of England as in the least deprived areas.
“This is fascinating new data that we haven’t produced before.
“Our statistics also show that hospitals have dealt with more admissions for bites and strikes by mammals compared to last year. We know that dog bite rates are particularly high among young children.
“As we head towards the summer months, when admission rates for dog bites are at their highest, these trends may be worth further study by healthcare organisations and public sector bodies.”