Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Stray politicians are running in packs and putting the public at risk for swallowing misinformation

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

No one is going to argue that serious injury from a dog or multiple dogs can be devastating, just as can serious injury from a motor vehicle accident, firearm or abuse from a human caregiver. Period

But when politicians are proclaiming that Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (IACC) administrator Doug Rae has put the public at risk of stray dogs (that might bite?) by re-allocating two “dog catcher” (hardly complimentary to the men and women who go into dangerous situations putting their lives at risk) positions to kennel technicians, the public is being fed a myth. What IS putting the public at supposed risk regarding stray dogs is the pointing of dog calls to the MAC (Mayor’s Action Center) communication system (that functions during business hours only) because calls to the MAC do not get priority recognition. How effective is a “dog catcher” responding to a call about stray dogs when the complaint has sat in the idle MAC center for a day or several days before it is forwarded to IACC? It would serve the public if interim (and aspiring) safety director Mark Renner would acknowledge and correct this, but to date (and for many administrations) it has not been addressed.

Let’s look at the reported dog bites in Indianapolis at this time last year as compared to those for this year:

01/14/08 – 10/02/08 1,092 bites
01/12/09 – 10/01/09 1,037 bites

This is a decrease of 55 reported bites. Also consider that the number of service runs by the “dog catchers” this year exceeds that of last year by 2,018. It’s hard to understand what criteria is used by Mr. Renner in determining Mr. Rae’s failure to protect the public when in fact IACC performance has exceeded the previous year even under the constraint of a 5% budget decrease!

But it does makes sense to blame Mr. Rae for failure because it shields the public safety division from the accountability of not fixing this problem by having calls routed in such a way that they receive the desired priority that the public is demanding.

Just what is our risk of being killed by a dog(s)?

According to the CDC the risk of being killed by a dog is 1 in 18 million and is among the rarest of fatal mishaps, .

What other comparisons can we use to put this into perspective?

We are 2x as likely to win a super lotto jackpot

5X more likely to be killed (not struck) by lightning and dog bite fatalities fall far behind other rare causes of death including 5 gal buckets, party balloons and swings.

Very Rare causes of accidental deaths
(Annual data based on 10-15 yr CDC sponsored studies of individual cases)
Average # of deaths per year:

Lightning 82
Forklifts 68
Dogs 16

Rare fatal injuries in children
(Annual data based on 10-15 yr CDC sponsored studies of individual cases)
Average # of deaths per year:

Human Caregivers 826
5 gallon buckets 22
Playgrounds 15
Balloons 11
Dogs 10

Unintentional injury deaths
per CDC Web based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISGARS) for 1999-2002
(Average number of accidental deaths per year)

Cars 43,730
Other 14,818
Falls 14,440
Poison 14,142
Choking 5,555
Fires 3,410
Drowning 3,334
Guns 791
Bicycles 774
Dogs 16

Perhaps we need to introduce an ordinance banning buckets, balloons and swings?

Where is the oxygen?