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Written by Jenny Ball

  • Thesis Title: A report on the status of dog bites in Western Australia
  • Author: Jenny Ball
  • Submitted as a requirement for: Graduate Diploma in Forensic Odontology
  • Date: December 2008

Abtract: Numerous studies have been carried our around the world investigating and comparing the epidemiology of dog bites in both adults and children. The initial aim of this project was to attempt to replicate various parts of these studies using figures obtained from the Western Australian Health department with an aim to determine if the figures from Western Australia were in keeping with the other studies and to provide a data base specific to Western Australia which would be accessible to different organizations such as Kidsafe, The Telethon Children’s Institute and local government councils and shires. Ethics approval for the original idea was declined.

I have now decided to approach the theme of Dog Bites in Western Australian from a different angle. I will discuss and summarize what information has been collected around the world and in Australia. Leading on from this I will look at the information that is currently available on figures from Western Australia. I will determine what information is not available or not recorded in hospitals and discuss why this information is not available and how it might be possible to record this information in the future.

It is believed that a large number of dog bites are not treated by any health professional. Another means of collecting information in regard to dog bites is to examine those incidents that are reported to local councils. In Western Australia primarily local governments enforce the Dog Act.