Cheesed off mice bite into ACC claims

CHARLIE MITCHELL
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2014

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They're known to be small and timid - but it seems mice can be quite savage when they're cheesed off, to the cost of taxpayers.

The furry critters were cited in 98 Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) injury claims in the past financial year.

Biting seemed the main issue, as mice injury claims totalled $4619.

All creatures great and small have the capacity to injure, figures obtained under the Official Information Act proved.

Fish and rabbits were cited in more than 300 claims, resulting in payouts totalling nearly $40,000.

Excerpts from claims reveal the ways people were on the receiving end of bestial violence.

One person was removing a mouse from a trap, only to painfully discover it was alive and capable of biting.

Another was rescuing a mouse from the family cat, when it ungratefully nipped the saviour's left thumb.

A fish somehow managed to latch its teeth into a claimant's right ankle; while another person lacerated a finger on the spine of a dogfish.

Magpies, alpacas, pigs and goats were together cited in nearly 500 claims, at a cost of about $200,000.

One claimant was head-butted pursuing a pig. Another tried to lift a very heavy pig, resulting in back pain.

An alpaca getting a pedicure on its nails lashed out and kicked a claimant's hand; a nasty magpie caused a cut under an eye.

The numbers reflect each instance where the animal's name was recorded in the claim accident description.

It wasn't just the smaller members of the animal kingdom causing trouble, though they made a surprising impact, larger animals did by far the the most damage.

Horses wreaked the most havoc relative to their population, racking up $6.5 million worth of claims, more than any other animal. More than 8000 horse-related incidents were submitted - one for every 10 horses in New Zealand - at an average cost of $806 for each incident.

Man's best friend do not live up to their name, apparently: dogs were responsible for more than 18,000 claims, costing nearly $6m. That's about 50 claims per day, or one for every 37 dogs in New Zealand.

Though there were more than 3000 claims involving our beloved woolly brethren, sheep were relatively well-behaved - they were involved in one claim for every 10,000 sheep.

The highest average claim - $825 - went to cattle, which were cited more than 4000 times. 

THOSE CLAIMS IN DETAIL

Animal      Claims      Cost

Dog            18,551     $5,947,499
Horse          8177       $6,591,250
Cat             5282       $866,462
Cattle          4284       $3,532,890
Sheep         3246       $2,207,959
Pigs            284         $149,176
Fish            176         $18,171
Rabbits       152          $20,422
Goats          139         $40,060
Mice             98         $4619
Alpacas        29          $9916
Magpies        4           $141

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- Fairfax Media

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