In honor of Dog Bite Prevention Week, the United States Postal Service (USPS) released a report ranking the top 25 cities nationwide for dog-bite attacks on USPS workers. Unfortunately, New York is well represented on the list. According to the postal service, Brooklyn, New York, ranks 13th; Buffalo, New York, ranks 18th; Jamaica, New York, ranks 23rd; and Rochester, New York, ranks 25th. The USPS is quick to point out that it is not only letter carriers that fall victim to dog bite attacks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites each year. Of that number, more than half are children. Further, between 12 and 20 deaths occur each year due to dog bites. Owners of dogs may be found liable for these injuries, particularly if victims are injured on the premises of the dog owner. To prevent dog attacks nationwide, the USPS, medical groups, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate people about animal attacks during National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Every year these groups emphasize that dog owners need to practice responsible pet ownership and that there are steps people can take to prevent dog attacks. To avoid dog attacks, it is important to take precautions such as:
- Never run past a dog
- Never approach a strange dog
- Avoid eye contact with a threatening dog
- Never disturb a dog eating, sleeping or caring for puppies
- Obtain permission from the owner to pet the dog
Dog owners can also take steps to prevent their pets from attacking others. These steps include obtaining obedience training for dogs, keeping dogs restrained, spaying or neutering dogs and handling dogs regularly. If a dog bite occurs, it is important to wash the area thoroughly and apply antiseptic lotion or cream. If signs of infection appear, seek care from a medical professional.