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16 May 1999 Issue
HSUS Announces 1999 National Dog Bite Prevention Week

WASHINGTON - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the
nation's largest animal protection organization with over seven million
members and constituents, today announced that the fifth annual National
Dog Bite Prevention Week will be held May 16-22. Cosponsors of National
Dog Bite Prevention Week include the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, and the United States Postal Service. The American Medical
Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, the nation's
largest organizations representing physicians and veterinarians respectively,
are also official cosponsors. Other cosponsors include the American Society
of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics,
Independent Insurance Agencies of America, State Farm Insurance
Companies and the National Animal Control Association.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week 1999 will concentrate on the public health
aspects of dog bites and will stress the toll that dog bites take on the nation's
health. Facts about dog bites include:

~ Nearly 13,000 Americans are bitten by dogs every day, according to a
1994 survey of approximately 5,000 households by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Young boys ages five to nine account for the most
dog bites and children are more than three times as likely to require medical
treatment.

~ Nearly 1,000 new dog bite injuries require emergency room treatment every
day in the United States. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says
that dog bites rank second behind baseball and softball games as the leading
cause for emergency room visits.

~ Over $100 million in medical expenses result from dog bite injuries each
year and approximately $1 billion is paid each year in insurance liability
claims.

"Dogs are said to be man's best friend, but injury and even occasional death
can result if dog owners act irresponsibly. Every dog owner must accept
responsibility for preventing dog bites by spaying and neutering their pets,
training and socializing them properly and by ensuring that their dogs are
safely confined," said The HSUS' Dr. Leslie Sinclair, DVM.

The HSUS offers the following tips to prevent dog bites:

~ Spay or neuter all dogs. Unaltered animals are three times more likely
to bite.
~ Don't disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies and
don't pet any dog without letting him or her see and smell you. Children
should be taught to leave dogs who are in a car, behind a fence or on a
chain alone.
~ Teach children how to respond to a dog attack. Tell children not to run or
scream, but to stand still with their arms at their sides. They shouldn't make
eye contact or speak to the dog. Teach children to curl into a ball and put
their hands over their ears if they are knocked to the ground.
~ Properly train and socialize dogs to behave properly around people of all
ages.
~ Don't base decisions about how to act around dogs on their breed. Any
size or kind of dog can bite.
~ Do consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if your dog growls, nips or
bites.

For more information on preventing dog bites and on National Dog Bite
Prevention Week, go to www.nodogbites.org on the Internet.

Email: hsusca@ix.netcom.com

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