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Dog Bites, Insurance Claims Increasing in Ohio

It's better to prevent a dog bite than have to deal with the consequences. Here are some tips as well as data.

Remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz where Toto bites Miss Gulch and she demands the dog be put down or she would sue? 

Well apparently more folks in that situation are suing the dog owners. Especially in Ohio.

In fact, Ohio ranks fourth in the nation for the dog bite claims to State Farm Insurance for 2011, according to the insurance company. In Ohio, 215 people made dog bite claims to the insurance company, resulting in payouts of $5.4 million. California was number one with 527 claims and $20.3 million paid out.

Closer to home, Cleveland ranks fourth in the nation for postal worker dog attacks with 44 reported in 2011.  Most of those attacks happened after the owner said, "My dog won't bite," according to the United States Post Office. 

But it's more dangerous for children. The post office says children are much more likely to be bitten by a dog than a mail man. 

And even though dog bite prevention week (May 20-26) just ended, prevention should happen all year. In that spirit, check out the attached American Veterinary Medical Association video featuring Prevent the Bite, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching children to be safe around dogs. They teach children to WAIT

  • W -- Wait to see if the dog is with his owner and wait to see if the dog is friendly. 
  • A -- Ask the owner permission to pet the dog. 
  • I -- Invite the dog to sniff. Speak softly and curl your hands at your sides and let the dog come to you. 
  • T -- Touch the dog gently on the back to pet it.  

For more tips, or to learn about how to train your dog, reach out to your local veterinarian. To find a local vet, just go to the Patch Directory and search "veterinarian." 

More resources: 

Ohio State Bar Association: Legal Liabilities for Owners 

Plain Dealer: Ohio Yanks Vicious Label From Pit Bulls

American Humane Society: Half of Dog Bite Victims are younger than 12 

Centers for Disease Control: Do Not Run From a Dog and Scream

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