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Warm weather means dog bites become more frequent

Here in La Crosse, the United States Postal Service warns its carriers that as weather warms up, postal workers are more likely to suffer dog bites.

Last year, post office employees across the nation suffered 2,613 dog bites. This year, the total has already topped 1,000 bites.

The increase in bites is because people tend to leave their dogs outside for longer periods of time during spring and summer months. Unfortunately, too often dogs that pose dangers to children, senior citizens, postal workers and others are not properly restrained or the owners don't have adequate fencing to keep their pets in their yards.

In some cases, that means the dogs will get loose and bite someone: about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually. Of those who are bitten, about one in five requires medical attention.

Approximately 30,000 people undergo reconstructive surgery each year as a result of being bitten by dogs.

Those who are most at risk are children; kids between the ages of five and nine are at the highest risk and are more likely than adults to require medical attention for the wounds suffered.

Others at risk: adult males and people with dogs in their homes. As the number of dogs in a home increases, so too does the likelihood of someone in the household sustaining a dog bite. The Centers for Disease Control states that "adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home."

If you or someone in your family suffers a dog bite injury, talk to an experienced attorney who knows the law and can help you understand your legal rights and options.

Source: "Post office warns dog bites will increase in warm weather," March 21, 2012

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