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National Dog Bite Prevention Week a time to remember victims

The second week in April, which in 2018 is April 8 through April 14, marks National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and many of those who work with dogs are commemorating the occasion in a number of ways.

This week is, however, also an appropriate time to remember the victims of dog bites both in the San Diego area and elsewhere in California.

There are unfortunately many such victims around the country. Although most of this country's 70 million dogs kept as household pets are not a threat to humans, each year 4.5 million people get bitten. Of these people, about 1 in 5 winds up having to go to the doctor or the hospital. An organization of plastic surgeons even estimated that two years ago, doctors had to do 29,000 plastic surgeries in order to correct disfigurement caused by a dog bite.

Sadly, many victims of dog bites are children. Along with senior citizens and mail carriers, children are a demographic group that is relatively likely to suffer from a dog attack, particularly if the child isn't sure how exactly to behave around a dog. Unfortunately, many of the injuries suffered by small children are to their faces.

Which dogs do wind up biting does not just depend on any one factor, such as breeding. Any dog is capable of biting under the right circumstances, and it is ultimately the owner's responsibility to keep those people who come around their dog safe.

There are a lot of things pet owners can do to prevent dog bites. They can make sure their dogs are properly restrained and appropriately socialized so as to be able to behave around other people. When owners do not follow through on these responsibilities, California residents often get hurt. Victims of preventable dog bites and their families can get compensation from those pet owners who are held responsible for their pet's behavior.

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