North Carolina doesn't have a dangerous dog database. In fact, most states don't.
Posted May 27, 2021 5:45 p.m. EDT
Updated May 27, 2021 7:01 p.m. EDT
North Carolina doesn't have a statewide database of animals that have bitten humans. It turns out, most states don't.
Each county health department tracks information related to calls for rabies shots, and each animal control department has logs regarding dangerous dogs. But, if you want to find out how many dogs across the state have been deemed dangerous, no state-run agency is collecting that data, which is the case in most other states.
Colleen Lynn founded a site which compiles information regarding dog bites. She began advocating for tracking bites after she says she was attacked in 2007 and couldn’t find any information on other dog bites.
"I believed, like what most every dog victim, that there there was some type of system that something will kick in to help us, and there isn't any," said Lynn.
Some states including neighboring Virginia have a database in place. In Delaware and South Carolina, the state health departments collect and release statewide data on dog bites.
Lynn believes creating something similar in North Carolina could save lives as it could impact personal decision making when it comes to getting a family dog.
"Researchers or someone [could] analyze this data, could you present information to parents to doctors and make recommendations," Lynn told WRAL News. "It would be a household choice. And there wouldn't be this social media debate."
But both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) have noted that sort of data can be fraught with errors because it is difficult to correctly identify a breed without official DNA testing.
While nothing is in the works for a statewide system in North Carolina, a Johnston County lawmaker told WRAL News this week that she believes that there needs to be a tracking system for bites and the system should include information like the breed of the dog.
WRAL News has reached out to more than a dozen lawmakers to hear their positions on this topic and will be updating you when we hear back.