Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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May 17, 2013

Indiana seventh in dog bite insurance claims

AVMA offers prevention tips

Ranking first in dog bites is a title that no community strives to attain. To help reduce the number of dog bites across America, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is offering Indiana residents concrete ways to help reduce the number of dog bites in their community during National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

As a partner in National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the U.S. Postal Service released its 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Rankings. Indiana ranks No. 7 for the number of insurance claims filed for dog bites on postal workers. According to State Farm, there were 148 such claims filed in Indiana in 2012 worth $2.7 million.

“Dogs are wonderful, intelligent, and loyal creatures, but they depend on responsible owners to teach them how to behave around people,” Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the AVMA, said in a press release. “Understanding how dogs behave and how to behave around dogs could save countless people from the serious physical and emotional consequences of a dog bite. The AVMA has a multitude of educational resources and experts available to help individuals and community groups understand how they can help prevent dog bites.”

Los Angeles was the top city for most dog bites on postal workers in 2012, with 69.

Tips from the AVMA that could help prevent a dog bite include:

- Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.

- Never disturb a dog that is caring for puppies, sleeping, or eating.

- If a dog approaches to sniff you, stay still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.

- If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.

- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.

For more information, visit the website at avma.org.

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