JACKSON, Miss. (Press Release) — Dogs are a member of the family, so many owners think that their dog won’t bite. Unfortunately for the 4.5 million victims of dog bites and attacks each year, this isn’t true. Any dog can bite, regardless of the breed. As the summer vacation approaches State Farm encourages Mississippi residents to be responsible pet owners and reduce the number of dog bites. National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is observed May 18 – 24 is designed to reinforce the importance of pet owner responsibility.
Education about responsible pet ownership and how to interact properly with any dog is critically important when it comes to reducing dog bite incidents.
“State Farm does not ask the breed of dog owned when writing or renewing homeowner insurance and does not track the breed of dog involved in dog bite incidents,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson.
Nationally, in 2013, State Farm paid $104 million as a result of 3,700 dog bite claims. Over the past five years, the insurer has paid $510 million for claims resulting from accidents involving a dog. Sadly many of these accidents could have been prevented.
Remember, a responsible dog owner should:
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Children are often bitten by a dog in their own household.
- Ask permission before touching or playing with a dog.
- Remember that any dog can be dangerous and any dog can bite.
State Farm urges caution around all dogs, including family pets. Prevent the Bite provides posters and safety information to teach children how to correctly approach a dog. The American Humane Association offers a free online booklet called Pet Meets Baby that includes a forward by Victoria and provides families with valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a dog.