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March 1976

Man's Best Friend

Author Affiliations

Brookline, Mass

Arch Surg. 1976;111(3):221. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1976.01360210015001

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At the risk of being labeled a curmudgeon, or worse, I propose that the number of dogs in the United States be drastically reduced, since a dog's bite is truly worse than his bark.

It is estimated that at least 1 million persons in this country each year suffer from dog bites. Aside from the consequences in terms of deformity and disease, the financial ramifications are staggering: $1 million annually with another $12 million for lost income and torn clothing. To these figures must be added the considerable expense of litigation.

The largest group of victims are children younger than 12. Some of them will bear the emotional, as well as physical, scars for many decades. A court award in dollars can never replace an intact skin and psyche.

Our society, preoccupied by the rights of the individual, must also take into account the rights of others and assess realistically

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