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In early April we presented information that urged Florida residents to stay alert for dogs to avoid a dog attack and dog bites. Now, in order to educate the American public about the dangers of dog attacks, the U.S. Postal Service teams up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to sponsor National Dog Bite Prevention Week from May 20 to 26.

The CDC reports that dogs bite about 4.7 million Americans each year. Of those victims, 800,000 people will seek medical attention for the bites, and 386,000 of the injured require treatment in an emergency department. Nearly half of the dog bite victims are children, with children aged 5 to 9 years being the most susceptible to bites. Sadly, about 16 people will die from their dog bite wounds each year., a national dog bite victims’ group dedicated to reducing and preventing serious dog attacks, reports that victims of serious dog attacks may require from $250,000 to $1,000,000 of specialized medical care to alleviate the pain and to rebuild damage after a dog bite. Victims may require extensive reconstructive surgery over many years, and may still suffer from debilitating pain and restrictive movement.

State Farm Insurance just released its 2011 dog bite claim numbers. Florida was the seventh top state for dog bite claims in 2011. State Farm paid out $5.1 million for 157 claims. California was the top state in numbers of dog bites, with 527 claims resulting in $20.3 million in claims. State Farm reports it paid more than $109 million for nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in the U.S. in 2011. The company estimates that all insurers paid approximately $479 million last year.

Company spokesman Jim Camoriano states that as schools get out and the weather warms, more and more children will come into contact with dogs. Therefore, they strongly encourage parents to educate their kids on how to behave around animals. Unfortunately, children comprise more than 50 percent of all dog bite victims.

Through its Facebook campaign, the AVMA asks the public to follow these guidelines to keep your family members and others safe from dogs:

  • If you are a dog owner, be responsible. Train your dog to obey basic commands; keep your dog on a leash when it is outside; exercise your dog appropriately and keep it healthy and vaccinated; and don’t put your dog in situations where it might be prone to bite.
  • Teach children to be safe around dogs. Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect; teach them avoid petting dogs through fences or approaching strange dogs; and teach children to ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting the dog.
  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.

Our South Florida dog bite attorneys ask that parents of young children be especially vigilant when dogs are in the neighborhood. We also ask that dog owners ensure their dogs are properly restrained and trained to help prevent vicious attacks.

Contact a Florida Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today

If a dog has attacked you or a family member, it’s important to understand whether the dog’s owner should be held responsible for your injury. Talk to a caring Florida dog bite injury lawyer to understand your legal rights. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have more than three decades of experience helping Florida individuals and families recover from serious injuries caused by the negligence of others.

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, concentrates on helping dog bite victims in Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Palm Beach. Call 1-800-299-8878 or fill out our online contact form.