NewsCovering Colorado


Bite Blotter aims to improve safety by tracking dog bites

Posted at 6:30 PM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 11:09:31-05

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — It's a hard to watch video. A family was leaving church in Colorado Springs back on October 20 when they were caught off guard by a dog running loose in the neighborhood. It lunged and bit their 5-year-old daughter. The girl suffered puncture wounds on her arm.

Animal law enforcement officers say it's an example of the type of cases they respond to on an almost daily basis.

"That's why we wanted to put it out there is not to scare people, but to really just bring awareness to, these are the real things we deal with on a daily basis and that's why we're out the community doing what we do," said Captain Lindsey Vigna, the assistant director for Animal Law Enforcement.

In 2019, the agency tracked 361 dog bite cases in the Colorado Springs metro area and reported them on its Bite Blotter. The idea is similar to that of a police blotter, where general case details are shared with the public in hopes of giving officers and neighbors a better idea of aggressive dog activity.

Those numbers also show that roughly one in 10 cases involved a cat or dog that was killed by an aggressive dog. Still, Vigna says many dog bites tend to go unreported.

"I think people always assume that we're going to take a dog away or they're going to get someone in trouble, and... You know, that's not always the case," she said. "Each case is evaluated differently and handled differently."

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region launched a second Bite Blotter for Pueblo residents last month. The websites don't list the breed of dog. Captain Vigna say the bigger problem is with irresponsible owners.

"Research has shown that breed bans aren't really effective. Within the humane society, we are proponents of pushing stricter penalties for irresponsible pet owners," she said.

The father of the young girl in this video didn't wish to be interviewed on camera for this report but said his daughter is doing much better. She's still very timid around dogs. The dog's owner was charged with keeping a dangerous animal.