As part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Southland utility companies today joined their counterparts statewide to urge customers to keep their dogs secure when utility employees enter residential and business properties.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite about 4.5 million people every year in the country, and about 20 percent of the injuries require medical attention. Although children are the most common victims, dozens of utility employees in California are moderately to severely injured by dogs each year.
The utilities circulated the following tips to provide a safe environment for both pets and utility employees:
- Securely confine or relocate your dog during scheduled customer service visits and when it's time for utility employees to read your meter.
- Contact your local utilities or check your monthly bills for the dates when utility workers are scheduled to conduct meter readings. On those days, leave gates unlocked and keep your dogs or other pets securely confined in another section of the property.
- If the employee is outside, keep your dog securely confined inside.
- If the employee is inside, keep your dog securely confined outside. Dogs may become more protective in the presence of their owners. Make sure your dog is securely confined where it cannot come into contact with the utility employee.
- Post a ``Beware of Dog'' sign on your fence or house to avoid any surprises.
- Leave a note on your meter explaining that you have a dog and how and where the animal is confined.
- Be sure all vaccinations and inoculations for rabies and parasites are up-to-date.
- Train your dog to obey simple commands like ``sit,'' ``stay,'' ``no'' and ``come.'' Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their canines in any situation.
- Collar your dog, so you have the means to quickly restrain the animal in any emergency.
- If you get a new dog, contact your local utilities to let them know.
The statewide public information campaign is being conducted by the Southern California Gas Co., Southern California Edison; San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric.