At first I thought that the higher number may have to do with the change in how society views pets. Today, more dogs live inside the home and have more daily contact with people (increasing the chance of a bite). However, the study found that residents of rural areas made four times as many emergency room visits due to dog bites than people living in non-rural areas, presumably where dogs are more likely to be living outside. Maybe better socialization or urban basic obedience classes can explain this aspect of the statistics?
I do hope that more research is done to follow up on this study. It’s important to find out what factors are influencing the dramatic increase in dog bites.