May 15-22, 2011 marks this year’s annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week ®. The following statistics compiled by the U.S. Postal Service suggest that the dog bite problem is a bigger problem in some cities than in others. Last year, 5,669 postal employees were attacked nationwide in more than 1,400 cities, and 4.7 million Americans were bitten annually â€” the majority of whom are children.
Lakeland personal injury lawyers at Burnetti, P.A. help dog bite victims residing in Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry, and the surrounding communities; however, dog bites can happen anywhere. The top three cities in attacks against postal employees consist of Houston, TX with 62 postal worker attacks, followed by San Diego, CA and Columbus, OH, both of which had 45 postal worker dog bites.
Florida had four cities listed on the U.S. Postal Service list of 2010 Dog Attacks/Bites by City/State. Jacksonville was the first Florida city listed at #16 with 22 postal carrier attacks; the remaining Florida cities making the list were #17 Miami, #20 Orlando, and #25 St. Petersburg with 20, 17 and 12 letter carrier attacks, respectively.
Dog bites represent approximately 44,000 emergency room visits per year. The most common victim of dog bites are not postal workers, but children – with the majority of the reported dog bites occurring to the facial region, specifically the nose, lips and cheeks. In addition to the physical and emotional damage caused by dog bites, there are other ramifications; according to the Insurance Information Institute â€œâ€¦dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2010, costing nearly $413 million.â€
There are many ways to reduce the chance of a dog bite, including:
- Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it, and use caution when bringing a dog into a household with an infant or toddler. A home with children may not be suitable for a dog with a history of aggression.
- Spay/neuter your dog, which often reduces aggressive tendencies.
- Play non-aggressive games with your dog, such as â€œfetchâ€. Don’t play aggressive games with your dog, such as wrestling.
- Do not disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, tethered/confined, or caring for puppies.
- If approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain motionless, don’t scream, and avoid direct eye contact.
Under the right circumstances, any dog may bite, and there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed. Practicing responsible pet ownership and maintaining a personal awareness to act responsibly around any dog can help reduce the number of dog bite attacks. Unfortunately, even when the most extreme caution is taken, a dog attack may still occur. If you or a loved one are a victim of a dog bite, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim for damages. To learn more about your legal rights, call 1-888-BURNETTI.