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Special week highlights dog bite prevention in America

Worcester parents are usually familiar with the safety lessons they must teach their children. Avoiding strangers, not swimming unless an adult is present, wearing a seatbelt and many more precautions tend to be common knowledge for local moms and dads. When it comes to evading dog bites, though, families who don't own pets might not know how to effectively prevent animal bites and attacks.

Just recently, from May 17 through the 23rd, it was National Dog Bite Prevention Week across the country. The week's mission is to educate and raise awareness regarding dog bite prevention, which is a crucial issue throughout the year. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, millions of people in America suffer from dog bites every year. Most of these bite victims are children; however, youngsters are not the only ones who can fall victim to animal bites. In 2014, more than 5,700 postal workers suffered dog bites. Interestingly, that figure is about 200 incidents more than the number of bites experienced the year before.

The AMVA notes that most dog bites can actually be prevented. One thing dog owners can do is to ensure their dog is properly socialized. If dogs aren't used to encountering certain types of people or other dogs, they may react aggressively even if they haven't before. Moreover, teaching children how to interact with dogs can also go a long way toward bite prevention. For instance, teaching children not to run away from a chasing dog or not to reach out and touch unfamiliar dogs may prevent a dangerous or disfiguring bite.

Here in Massachusetts, dog bites have had a local impact. Last year there were over 165 bites in Holyoke, Chicopee and Springfield. These and other victims of bites may suffer not only physical pain, but also emotional pain as they struggle to cope with fear, distrust and the realities of disfigurement. Those who have been bitten by another's pet may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney regarding their legal roads to recovery.

Source: WWLP, "National dog bite prevention week," Ashley Afonso, May 15, 2015

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