05/21/06 — National Dog Bite Prevention Week observed May 21-27

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week observed May 21-27

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on May 21, 2006 2:07 AM

May 21-27 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

The U.S. Postal Service has taken the lead in making the public aware of the need for controlling dogs so that they do not attack people.

Despite the popular notion that letter carriers are the most subject to dog attacks, it is children and the elderly that are most at risk.

More than 4.7 million people in the United States were the victim of dog bites last year, with small children the most susceptible to attack.

The American Veterinary Medical Association urges dog owners urged to train and control their pets so that they pose no danger to neighbors, joggers, mail carriers, meter readers and others.

Pet owners can be held liable for attacks by their dogs on others, including all medical expenses and other costs.

Dogs should be properly restrained -- and a fence alone is often not enough to prevent a dog from attacking. Spaying or neutering is one way that the risk of bites can be reduced. Spayed or neutered dogs are three times less likely to bit, according to the AVMA. The organization also notes that dogs that receive little attention or are left tied up for long periods of time are the most likely to bite.

Postal officials ask that parents not permit children to accept mail directly from mail carriers in view of a dog since the animal can view the action as attacking the child.