Friday, May 20, 2011

Biting dogs become real danger to many Americans

By George Bao, Xinhua News Agency, from iStock Analyst

Peter, a Chinese American who works for the post office in Rosemead, California, said he has been attacked by dogs twice in the past 10 years while delivering mails.
He said as a mail carrier, he has to walk door to door to put mails into the mailboxes of the residents, and many times the owners were not at home but their dogs were too loyal to their duties and would see mail carriers like him as intruders.
"It is dangerous to be a mail carrier. The enemy is not humans but animals like dogs who have been generally seen as human's best friends," Peter, who asked not to identify his full name, told Xinhua.
Mail carriers in the United States feel the real danger of being attacked by dogs while delivering mails door by door.
Statistics released by the U.S. Post Office showed that 5,669 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2010 in the United States. That's an average of 11 dog attacks every delivery day, and that figure does not include the number of threatening incidents that did not result in injury.
Los Angeles is the third most dangerous city in the U.S. when it comes to being a mail carrier with 44 mail carriers being attacked by dogs in 2010, according to the U.S. Post Office.
San Diego in California and Columbus in Ohio tied for second place, each logging 45 dog attacks. Houston in Texas is the most dangerous city in the U.S. for mail carriers with 62 attacks in 2010.
On May 25, 2010, Eddie Lin, a 33-year old Chinese American postal carrier in San Diego, was attacked by a dog while delivering mail, his head hit on the ground and died 10 days later. His death angered his family and the whole community.
The daughter of the dog's owner, who identified herself as Eva, said the incident has devastated her father.
"We feel really bad," Eva told the local press in an interview. "It's just killing my Dad," she added.
On Sept. 30, 2010, a German Shepard and a Pitbull mix attacked Hu Ruiz, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service. He luckily recovered from puncture wounds on his arms after the two dogs attacked him as he made deliveries along Camden Avenue in San Jose, California.
It is not the problem for the mail carriers only. Dogs attack other people too. Statistics showed that there are more than 4.7 million Americans bitten by dogs nationwide annually.
Dog bites have caused a lot of insurance claims and lawsuits in the country.
State Farm, a leading insurance provider in the U.S., has compiled a list of statistics detailing the number of dog bite insurance claims it received in 2010.
As far as State Farm claims are concerned, California leads the pack with a total of 369 claims and roughly 11 million dollars in payouts. This averages nearly 30,000 dollars in payouts per dog bite claim.
Illinois ranked the second with 317 claims and 9.7 million dollars paid, followed by Ohio with 215 claims, 5.7 million dollars paid. Texas ranked the fourth with 202 claims, 3.7 million dollars paid. Michigan the fifth with 166 claims, 5.2 million dollars paid. Pennsylvania the sixth with 155 claims, 3.9 million dollars paid. Florida the seventh with 146 claims, 5.6 million dollars paid. Minnesota had 139 claims, 3.4 million dollars paid. New York had 119 claims, 4.3 million dollars paid. While Indiana had 114 claims, 1.8 million dollars paid.
In total, these 10 states were responsible for close to 55 million dollars in insurance payouts for 1,942 claims, averaging 28,321,32 dollars per claim.
Out of the top 10 leading states, only Ohio has reserved the right to refuse claims on a breed-specific basis. Ohio-based insurance companies are free to refuse claims or raise rates for owners of pit pulls or any American Staffordshire terrier mix. All states allow for insurance companies to inquire about pets and their dispositions on applications for homeowner's insurance, however.
Local states have different legislations on personal injury by dogs. The California legislature has made it easier than nearly every other state for victims of dog bite attacks to hold owners or handlers responsible.
While most states require a history of viciousness or a propensity for violence on the part of the dog before strict liability can be applied, California dog bite statutes state that "the owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness ...."

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