It’s National Dog Bite Awareness week. Never heard of it? It’s a public service campaign that brings awareness to the fact that pet owner’s need to do more to prevent dog bites. I think it was originally started by the USPS.
The Postal Service along with other organizations offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for pet owners to be more responsible. Our campaign is Stay Alert: Don’t be Fooled by “My Dog Won’t Bite!”
It’s estimated that insurance companies paid out $479 million in 2011 for dog bite cases. The average cost per claim was $28,799. (Source)
Dog bites and irresponsible dog owners are near and dear to my heart these days for all the wrong reasons. We settled Jonesie’s dog bite case in mediation last month after almost three years of dealing with it and one only month away from a three day trial!
I will tell you that Jonesie’s settlement was quite a bit more than the average cost per claim mentioned above and what that tells you is how severely irresponsible the dog owner’s were. And why his dad and I were so willing to fight for what Jonesie deserved. (He gets every penny aside from his current therapy costs when he is 18.)
Kids, ages 5-9, are the #1 group of reported bites. Postal workers is #3!! It’s no wonder they have put together a public service campaign. In my opinion it’s really crappy that they have to do so.
In the last year or so I have become super sensitive to dogs. Strange dogs. Strange dogs in public places. Strange dogs in public places with irresponsible owners.
I have started walking each night and I cannot tell you how many dogs I’ve seen off leash.
And the number of people who have their dogs on leashes but let there dogs get close enough to touch me with their wet nose! Irritates the crap out of me.
There are just as many people who have their dogs on leashes and hold them on their opposite side, or hold them close enough so that they can’t touch others. For that I am thankful.
I have even seen dogs muzzled. This doesn’t make me sad. This makes me want shake their owner’s hands for being responsible.
There are leash laws, and bite laws in most states for a reason. The cost of breaking those laws, as the owner’s in our case did, are far more reaching than the financial costs. Trust me. As I sit in therapy with Jonesie each week while he learns to overcome his post-traumatic stress disorder. While the process is exactly what he needs, it tears me up. This week I’m pretty sure that between the two of us, we used an entire box of Kleenex because watching my little boy try to confront a really shitty situation that never should have happened, I have a really hard time holding it together myself. It’s like watching an infant get a shot. You know it’s the right thing for them, but damn how they scream.
So, dog owners, I beg you… even if your dog is the “most friendly dog in the world” please be responsible.