HOSPITAL admissions due to dog attacks have shot up nearly 50 per cent in Coventry and Warwickshire.
New statistics reveal hospitals across the county are treating soaring numbers of patients for injuries suffered when a dog lashed out.
Nationally, hospital admissions for dog-related injuries have fallen.
But Coventry and Warwickshire are bucking that trend.
A local branch of a national animal charity blames irresponsible owners and dog breeders for the problem.
Some 99 people across Coventry and Warwickshire were admitted to hospital for dog bites or strikes in the 12 months to May this year, according to the data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
That is a sharp rise of 46 per cent on the previous year when there were 68 hospital admissions for dog-related injuries.
The figures did not come as a shock to the local branch of the RSPCA – who blamed poor training.
Lorraine Bryan, deputy manager of the RSPCA Coventry, Nuneaton and District branch, says effective dog training is key to tackling the issue.
She said: “It’s about educating dog owners. Just because a dog is trained to sit and paw in the home doesn’t mean it will behave when he’s off a leash in a park. A dog needs to be socialised, trained in a group where it gets to meet other dogs.”
On the dog breeding issue, she added: “There’s a big problem with breeding dogs without breeding for health and temperament.
“We are over-flooded with them in this centre, dogs such as Staffies.
“Dogs aren’t naturally violent, it’s how you bring up the dog.”
In hospitals run by Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, there were 53 admissions for dog bites or strikes, up 19 cases from 34 the previous year.
Nationally, in the 12 months to May 2013, there were 6,334 hospital admissions for dog bites or strikes, a fall of 1.9 per cent from the 12 months to May 2012 where there were 6,454.
Dog bites or strikes were most common in young children, with one in six dogs bite or strike admissions for a child aged nine years or below. The statistics also revealed the north-west to be the dog bites hotspot.
One in every six hospital admissions for dog bites or attacks occur in the north west of England with 1,099 admissions in the 12 months to May.