Collaboration Promotes National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 19-25
WASHINGTON — As a prelude to National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the Postal Service released its dog attack city rankings today and urged pet owners to help reduce the incidence of dog bites to letter carriers.
“If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you’ll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it’s safe to deliver,” said Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, where 69 postal employees were attacked last year, placing the City of Angels as the most vicious for dog attacks. Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
Snavely noted that in situations where a dog roams the neighborhood, delivery to the owner’s neighbors could be curtailed as well. Additionally, when letter carriers come to a customer’s door, pet owners are asked to place dogs in a separate room and close the door, as many canines have been known to jump through screen and glass doors.
Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, but that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by declaring May 19-25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
“Many dogs are cherished members of their family and people believe their dog won’t bite, but given the right circumstances, any dog can attack," said Snavely. “Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory. Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.”
How to be a Responsible Dog Owner
The National Dog Bite Prevention Week partners offer the following tips:
The Postal Service; the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),aap.org; the American Humane Association (AHA) americanhumane.org, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM), microsurg.org;the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA),avma.org;the Insurance Information Institute (III),iii.org; State Farm Insurance,statefarm.com; and Prevent The Bite (PTB),preventthebite.org, are driving home the message that dog bites are a nationwide issue and that education can help prevent dog attacks to people of all ages.
American Academy of Pediatricians
“Parents, please don’t ever leave a young child unsupervised around any dog, even a dog well-known to your family,” said AAP President Dr. Robert Block. “Even very young children should be taught not to tease or hurt animals. And with school almost over for the year, children will be spending more time in parks, at friends’ homes, and other places where they may encounter dogs.
American Humane Association
Children should be taught to never approach an unfamiliar dog. Infants and young children should never be left alone with any dog; interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure safety for both the dog and the child. Children should be taught to treat the dog with respect and not engage in rough or aggressive play. American Humane Association has a brochure“Pet Meets Baby”, available for families with infants, that is available online americanhumane.org/assets/pdfs/interaction/pet-meets-baby-2013.pdf and offers many helpful tips.
American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery
“Most children love dogs and like to put their face up close to the dog’s face. Parents should never permit this,” said Dr. Joseph Serletti, president of the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery. “Even the friendliest dog may bite when startled or surprised. Be cautious, once a child is scarred they are scarred for life. We hear this line all the time ‘The dog has never bitten anyone before’. A dog’s reaction to being surprised or angered is not predictable.”
American Veterinary Medical Association
Any dog can bite. Protect your family and community and the welfare of dogs with early education programs. The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD is targeted and tested for children from 3 to 6 years old and is intended as a tool to be incorporated as part of a more comprehensive prevention program. Visitavma.org/dogbite for information on dog bite prevention material from the AVMA and its National Dog Bite Prevention Week partners.
Insurance Information Institute
Dog bites account for more than a third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability if your dog injures another person or damages someone else’s property. The best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place.
Prevent The Bite
A nonprofit organization devoted to keeping children safe fromdog bites, Prevent The Bitemeets the national standards of education, and makes it possible for anyone to teach children how to avoid being bitten. Dog attack victim Kelly Voigt is available for interviews.
State Farm Insurance
As the nation’s largest property and casualty insurer in the country, State Farm understands the damage that a dog bite can do. In 2012, the company paid more than $136 million dollars as a result of nearly 4,500 dog bite claims. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners. State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns in the United States. Instead, we urge owners to be responsible with their pets. Visitlearningcenter.statefarm.com/ for information on keeping your family and pets safe.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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Collaboration promotes National Dog Bite Prevention Week®
SCHAUMBURG, Illinois (May 18, 2012) – Of the 4.7 million Americans victimized annually by dog bites, more than half are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Veterinarians, the U.S. Postal Service, the medical community and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are preventable.
As part of this effort, the Postal Service is releasing its top 25 dog-attack city rankings to postal employees to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, May 20-26. The annual event provides dog-attack prevention tips, information on responsible pet ownership and medical treatments tips if attacked.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Postal Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, the Insurance Information Institute and Prevent the Bite are driving home the message that dog bites are a nationwide issue and that education can help prevent dog bites to people of all ages.
“Children between the ages of five and nine years old, engaged in everyday activities with their own or a neighbor’s dog, are the most frequent victims of dog bites,” said AVMA President Dr. René Carlson. “We all want to protect our children from dog bites, and one of the best ways to do that is by properly training and socializing our dogs.”
The AVMA offers the following tips:
How to Avoid Being Bitten
· Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
· Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
· If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
· Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
· Don’t bother a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
· People choosing to pet dogs should obtain permission from the owner first and always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
· If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
· If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.
How to be a Responsible Dog Owner
- Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
- When letter carriers and others who are not familiar with your dog come to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room.
- Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of others as a threat.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to roam and to bite.
- Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters.
“Given the right circumstances, any dog can bite,” said Dr. Carlson. “By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries, but also enhance the relationship they have with their dog.”
Watch the AVMA video for tips on dog bite prevention or download the following AVMA resources to learn more:
What you should know about dog bite prevention brochure
Tips on how to avoid being bitten, as well as what to do if you are bitten by a dog. The brochure also addresses what you need to do if your dog bites someone.
NEW: Backgrounder: The role of breed in dog bite risk and prevention
This backgrounder reviews and provides scientific context on dog breeds and their purported tendencies to bite.
A community approach to dog bite prevention (PDF)
The American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions has produced this report intended to help state and local leaders develop effective dog bite prevention programs in their communities.
The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD
This innovative dog-bite prevention program is designed to help parents and children safely interact with dogs both inside and outside their home. The program is geared toward children from 3 to 6 years old. It's the only dog-bite educational tool scientifically proven to help young children learn behaviors that can keep them safe.
Bilingual Dog Bite Prevention activity/coloring book
Teach children about different ways to avoid dog bites, by educating them on how, or if, they should approach a dog.
For more information, please visit, www.avma.org.