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Sink your teeth into this: It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week

May 20, 2008 | 11:18 am

Such_big_teethIt's a time of year that many of us have eagerly anticipated. Yes, it's National Dog Bite Prevention Week. We're not sure who designated the third (full) week in May as NDBPW, but you can bet that the United States Postal Service takes it seriously. 

According to a news release from the Postal Service, "last year, 3,184 letter carriers were bitten by dogs across the United States. Thanks to aggressive community outreach efforts with the American Veterinary Medical Assn., the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other organizations nationwide, 89 fewer letter carriers were victimized by dog attacks last year. But even one bite is one too many."

In addition, in the Orange County and Long Beach area, "postal employees suffered the most dog bites last year with 96, followed by Houston with 94, Sacramento with 82 and Los Angeles with 77."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites each year (half of those are children). "Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency department and about a dozen die. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age."

Both organizations suggest tips for dog owners ... and folks who approach dogs, as does the Humane Society of the United States.

-- Alice Short

Photo: Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times

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