By Monte Miller
Missourian Staff Writer
In the last 18 months, 315 animal bites have been reported in Franklin County.
Of those, 231 have come from dogs, 69 from cats and the remaining 15 from other wild or farm animals.
Fifty-six of the total 231 dog bites reported in the county since the beginning of 2017 have come from pit bulls.
There have been 91 bites from unknown dog breeds, 20 from mixed breeds and 10 from Labrador or Lab mixes.
Those are the only breeds with recorded bites in double digits, but the list compiled by the Franklin County Health Department includes an additional 54 bites from 27 different breeds.
Franklin County Public Health Supervisor Tony Buel said he began keeping track of breed-specific data after he noticed other counties and cities were doing so.
“Most animal bites are first reported by emergency rooms and the infectious disease staff at the hospitals, but many more are reported by individuals, police departments, school nurses and other medical providers,” he said. “We have a great reporting system in the county and the health department is very thankful to everyone that reports.”
Buel added the unknown category contains dogs the owners and or vets and victims state they don’t know which type of dog it is. It also contains the dogs that are never found when a child may be bitten, or the child is unsure which type of dog bit them.
“We don’t have animal control so we don’t have a professional that knows dog types, or can go investigate these situations on site,” he said. “All dog bite breed data collected are from the actual owners or vets, as well as the victims.”
The unknown category also consists of cases where officials were unable to ask which kind of dog was involved.
Dog bite cases where more than one was reported for a specific breed included:
• beagle — five,
• German shepherd — four,
• shepherd mix, Chihuahua, Rottweiler, border collie, bulldog, and mastiff — three, and
• Bernese mountain dog, cattle dog, Great Dane, Jack Russell terrier and Rat terrier — two.
In addition to dog bites, the county also records bites from other household, farm and wild animals as well.
From Jan. 1, 2017, to Thursday, June 7, 2018, the county has logged 69 bites from cats, five bat bites or exposures and two raccoon and horse bites.
Six other animals had one bite listed in the same period, including a fox, sheep, squirrel, pig, armadillo and bobcat.