Does your dog bite? Coalition ranks top cities, states for dog attacks
By Jay Keller
Unfortunately, a dog’s bad day can result in serious injury for mail carriers and other dog-bite victims.
As a prelude to National Dog Prevention week, May 19-25, the U.S. Postal Service is teaming up with the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry in a public-awareness campaign to “educate the public that dog bites are avoidable.”
As such, USPS released on Wednesday its ranking of top cities where dog attacks are prevalent the most, saying that letter carriers in Los Angeles, San Antonio or Seattle reported 153 dog attacks last year.
“Many dogs are cherished members of their family and people believe their dog won’t bite,” said Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, where 69 postal employees were attacked last year.
Snavely added: Under the “right circumstances, any dog can attack.”
Letter carriers in 20 other cities, according to the USPS, reported nearly 6,000 total attacks nationwide in 2012 in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore and Denver.
State Farm, in its release of the top 10 states where dog bite claims were highest last year, reported 3,670 dog bite claims and paid more than $108 million as a result.
California, Illinois and Texas were the top three states for State Farm homeowner claims, followed by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana.
There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed.
Rounding out the State Farm list were Florida, Georgia and New York.
Dog bite costs at insurers fell for the first time since 2004, according to the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute, but dog bites did cost insurers $489 million, or more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012.
“While a decrease in dog bite claims is good news, the rise in claims costs by even a small amount suggests that medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs are still on the upswing,” insurance industry watchdog I.I.I. said in a statement.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that 70 million dogs live in U.S. households and the Centers for Disease Control says millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year.