California is home to more dogs and people than any other state and leads the nation in dog bite claims.

According to a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, in 2011 they paid more than $20.3 million on about 527 claims in the state of California, a jump of 31 percent over the previous year.

There are about 4.7 million people in the U.S. bitten by dogs each year and unfortunately more than half of the victims are children, as a statistic provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published. After children between 5 and 9 years old, the agency said that seniors are the largest group at risk, followed by letter carriers.

In 2011, Los Angeles carriers recorded the most bites with 83; San Diego was second with 68; followed by Houston at 47, and Cleveland at 44.

Medical expenses from dog attacks cost the Postal Service just over $1 million last year, officials said.

However, a child is 900 times more likely to be attacked than a letter carrier according to a spokesman from the Postal Service.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) predicts half of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before they are 12 years old. The majority of bites will be from the family dog or the dog of a neighbor or friend.

Below are 10 tips from the ASPCA to avoid being bitten by a dog:
1. Do not tease a dog.
2. A youngster should never stare into a dog’s eyes.
3. If a dog is chained up, do not approach the dog.
4. Don’t touch an unknown off-leash dog.
5. Don’t run or scream if approached by a loose dog.
6. Don’t play with a dog while it is eating.
7. Don’t touch a dog while it is sleeping.
8. If a loose dog comes close, stand very still and be very quiet.
9. Always ask a dog’s owner for permission to pet the dog.
10. Let a dog sniff your closed hand before you start touching it.

Hopefully some of these preventative measures will help you and your family avoid being bitten by a dog. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, please contact Harris Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at (760) 231-9970.

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