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L.A. County leads in mail-carrier dog bites

May 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and Southern California mail carriers and meter readers want to get a message out. These bite victims are urging people to restrain and train their pets so it won't again.

"He jumped me from the back, and when I turned around, he jumped up in my chest and knocked me down to the ground and put his whole mouth over my face," said mail carrier Alicia Adkins.

Stories similar to Adkins's are becoming more abundant. Los Angeles County ranks third in the nation for dog bites to postal carriers, with 44 attacks reported in 2010.

State Farm Insurance also announced that California leads the nation in dog-bite claims, with claims totaling more than $11 million.

Victims are left with both the physical and emotional scars after surviving these attacks.

"Sixteen internal staples, 17 stitches, about three weeks physical recovery, but I'm almost positive I'll never get over the emotional side of it," said Noah Padilla, a SoCal Gas meter reader. "The dog was just doing what he felt was his job."

Thursday, Postal Service workers and Southern California Gas meter readers came together to share their stories to raise awareness of this growing problem.

"This is chihuahua came out the window and jumped out the window and snagged onto my shirt and then another one was I had a pit bull tore the fence open and came out at me," said Robert Johnson Mills, a mail carrier.

Most bites can be avoided with proper supervision and training. Mail carriers and utility-meter readers are asking that we do our part to keep them safe.

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