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Is your dog likely to bite? 4.5 million people may have an answer

Los Angeles and San Diego are near the top of the list of cities for dog bite attacks involving Postal Service employees. LA comes in second place, with San Diego ranking fourth in the United States. The Post Office says that more than 5,500 workers were victims of dog attacks last year.

While mail carriers are frequently victims of dog attacks, anyone can be a victim of these vicious incidents; people of all ages and all walks of life can be the victim of an attack. Unfortunately, children are often the victim of a mauling. Roughly 4.5 million people suffer injury in a dog attack each year; about half of all dog-bite victims are children.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is slated for next week, beginning on May 18. The Postal Service is not the only organization seeking to raise awareness of animal attacks. Many animal control agencies, and dog safety advocates across the country agree that owner responsibility is a major step in preventing dog attacks.

Commentators say that many dog owners have the feeling that their pet would not bite a person. Some dog owners assert that the victim must have been at fault in somehow provoking the dog when an animal mauls a person in the neighborhood.

But, owners of an animal are responsible for the dog’s actions. Proper training and socialization is an important step in preventing a dog mauling. Proper supervision of the dog is paramount for a dog owner. Owners should keep a dog secured; when opening the door, owners should be aware of the whereabouts of the dog so that it does not run loose.

Safety advocates say that parents should educate their kids about how to safely interact with dogs. Strange dogs should generally be avoided, but kids should learn not to hug and kiss dogs in the neighborhood. Standing still in the presence of an unknown dog is often recommended by safety experts.

Dog bites can cause serious injuries that may require extensive medical treatment. The power of a dog’s jaws and the nature of the teeth can inflict fatal injuries in some attacks. Victims of an animal attack may be able to pursue justice in civil court if an owner is negligent in his or her supervision of an animal.

Source: Federal Times, “Postal Service pushes to prevent dog attacks on letter carriers," Andy Medici, May 14, 2014; AZ Family, "National Dog Bite Prevention Week next week," Tami Hoey, May 13, 2014

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