National Dog Bite Prevention Week Should Recognize Tethering

National Dog Bite Prevention Week. (May 19-26, 2010)
After experiencing as many as 7,000 dog bite injuries to its letter carriers in a single year, the US Postal Service partnered with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other interested parties to teach people how to avoid dog attacks and how to protect themselves if an attack occurs. 

Mail carriers nationwide record nearly 3,000 dog bite-related injuries each year. The most frequent victims of dog attacks however are children. In fact, children are nearly 900 times more likely to be bitten than letter carriers. Of the more than 4.7 million people bitten each year, small children, the elderly, and letter carriers (in that order) are the most frequent victims of dog bites. Of these 4.7 million victims each year, 2 million victims are children.  
Please note that under “How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner,” the USPS press release includes the following statement “Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.”  This statement should mention tethering

Chained dogs are 2.8 times more likely to attack humans than dogs that have not been chained — even greater for un-neutered males. Dogs are by nature social animals.   When isolated by tethering, dogs become fearful, stressed and aggressive.  Last year, 30 people died in the US from dog attacks. This year could be another 30 fatalities.  A statewide anti-tethering law would go a long way to help reduce a significant cause of dog attacks– dogs that are neglected and poorly socialized due to long-term tethering.   Such a law would help to identify owners of chained dogs, educate them that long-term tethering is a dangerous and risky practice, and encourage them to either build a fence, build a reasonable pen, bring their dog indoors, or find the dog a new home.

Next year will be another National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  Ask the US Postal Service, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to include tethering in their materials as a significant cause of dog attacks.   

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