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California cities among worst in nation for dog bites

Letter carriers in California should be extra careful around Fido, it seems. Four Golden State cities ranked high in the United State Postal Services' recently released list of top 25 worst cities for dog bites.

San Diego tied with Columbus, Ohio for number two, with each city tallying 45 incidents of letter carriers being bitten by dogs. Los Angeles was not far behind, coming in at number three with 44 dog bites. Sacramento came in ninth with 30 dog bites and San Jose rounded out the top 15 with 23 dog bites

The worst city in the nation for incidents involving letter carriers getting bitten was Houston, where 62 letter carriers were attacked in 2010.

Though they're often the butt of jokes, dog bites are no laughing matter. State Farm Insurance had nearly 3,500 reports of dog bites in 2010 and paid out more than $90 million in claims. California led the nation in claims for dog bites, reporting 369 attacks and claims totaling more than $11 million.

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control estimates there are about 4.7 million nonfatal dog bites each year, 800,000 of which required medical attention of some kind. Children need to be especially cautious - a full 50 percent of dog bites reported to the CDC involved children under 12 and kids under 15 made up 82 percent of post-dog bite emergency room visits.

The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends not approaching strange dogs, asking for permission before petting someone's dog and adopting a submissive posture - lowered eyes, non-threatening body language - if you feel you are about to be attacked.


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