Georgia ranks 9th in dog bites cases

Todd Martin looks at a picture of his son after he was bitten by a dog. / Jessica Fairley

According to State Farm, Georgia ranks 9th in the nation for dog bite claims. In 2012 there were 3,670 claims filed in the United States; 121 of those cases were filed in Georgia.

Those numbers dropped slightly from the 3,750 claims filed in 2011.

Officials say dog bites continue to be a serious health and safety issue across the nation.

Four years ago Todd Martin's six-year-old son was playing in a friend's backyard when a dog that was believed to be non-aggressive turned against him.

"The hospital is right across the street from my office, so I immediately met my son at the emergency room and when I saw the bite, I was completely devastated," said Todd Martin, a parent and agent for State Farm Insurance.

Martin says the bite almost went through his son's cheek. It's a memory that Hayden Martin still remembers vividly.

"It hurt a lot and I was worried that I was going to have to get stitches or some kind of surgery. I was really scared," said Hayden Martin.

The child, who is now 10-years-old, is one of thousands to fall victim to a dog bite. Although the number of cases has dropped slightly from 2011, officials say people should always take precaution.

"It doesn't have to be wild dog or a dog that's not cared for. It could be a dog that you know and it can be a neighbor's dog that you don't think is aggressive but dogs are unpredictable and I suggest caution around any type of animal," said Todd Martin.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week will take place from May 19th until May 25th.

State Farm has joined with the coalition to reinforce the importance of pet owner responsibility and the need for continued public education regarding dog bite prevention.

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