Each year, National Dog Bite Prevention Week is observed over the course of the third full week of May. In observance of the week, campaigns have been launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Veterinary Medical Association, the U.S. Postal Service and State Farm Insurance. As the home to more dogs than any other state in nation, the campaign is very relevant to California.
While anyone can sustain a dog bite, children between the ages of five and nine are often culprits. There are likely many reasons for this including a child's propensity to want to play with dogs, their inability to comprehend the potential danger associated with playing with some dogs, and their smaller size. Children are the focus of this year's campaign.
In previous posts we have written about dog bites that have occurred in the Sacramento area. In many cases of dog bites, the injured party decides to seek compensation for the injuries they received from the dog. When this happens, insurance companies can end up making payments to the injured person.
Insurance company State Farm paid out a lot of money to individuals in California. In 2011, the company identified the state as leading the nation in both the number of claims filed, as well as the number of claims paid. The average cost of each claim paid by State Farm in the state was $38,500.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides several tips to help prevent children being bitten by dogs. These include:
- Not staring into the eyes of a dog
- Not teasing a dog
- Leaving dogs that are eating or sleeping alone
- Scream or run if an unleashed dog approaches them
While there are of course some animal bites that occur regardless of the behavior of the children, all would likely agree that anything that can be done to prevent a dog from biting a child should be done.
Source: USA Today, "State Farm pays $109 million for dog bite claims," The Associated Press, May 17, 2012