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California tops list of most dangerous states for dog bites

Like humans, dogs display a wide variety of personalities and dispositions. And as much as we want to believe that these beloved household pets would never attack a human, the statistics speak for themselves. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Of these victims, more than half are children.

Animal bites account for a large number of premises liability lawsuits every year. In order to help educate pet owners and ultimately reduce these avoidable attacks, May 19-25 has been designated National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Few institutions are happier to mark this occasion than the U.S. Postal service; which saw nearly 6,000 of its employees attacked by dogs last year alone.

According to analyses by the US Postal Service and State Farm Insurance, California had the highest number of dock attacks of mail carriers and the general public in 2012. The number-one city on the Postal Service's list was Los Angeles, in which 69 employees were attacked last year. San Francisco was fourth on the list with 38 attacks.

State Farm Insurance also ranked California as the state with the highest number of dog bite claims in 2012 with 451. Together, these claims resulted in an estimated $17.1 million in payouts to victims in California.

The Postal Service has encouraged pet owners to enroll their dogs in obedience training. Furthermore, dog owners should have a way to restrain or cloister their dogs when a mail carrier or other visitor comes by the house. This can include keeping the dog securely tied up outside at a safe distance away or keeping the dog in the house in a separate room when someone comes to the front door.

If you own a dog, please use this week to make sure that your pet is never put in a position to attack a human. And if you or a loved one has been the victim of a vicious dog attack, you may wish to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Source: U.S. Postal Service, "Postal Service Releases Top Dog Attack City Rankings," press release, May 15, 2013

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