May 22, 2006

ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 22, 2006—With many of its 15,000 employees often working in the field, Southern California Edison (SCE) is joining with the U.S. Postal Service this week to recognize National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 21 through 27.

SCE’s work force includes nearly 700 meter readers, employees who daily walk and/or drive routes through the many residential and commercial neighborhoods of the utility’s 50,000-square-mile service area in central, coastal and Southern California.  These employees frequently must deal with dogs, as well as inclement weather, heavy traffic, gangs, obstructed pathways, street crime, sore feet, spiders in meter cabinets, exposed nails, debris, cacti, potholes, even the occasional snake.

“We are encouraging our customers to be responsible dog owners,” said Jack Sahl, SCE director of environmental, health and safety.  “Not only will it make the area safer for our employees, it also will make it safer for letter carriers, deliverymen, pedestrians, and children and the elderly.”

Henry Salazar, who manages safety for the company’s customer service business unit, noted there have been only six dog bites of meter readers so far in 2006.

"Our goal is to have no work injuries from dog bites," said Salazar.  "To do that, we need the help and cooperation of our customers.  We want all of our employees to leave work each day as healthy as when they came to work.”

According to the Postal Service, there are almost five million victims of dog bites every year in the U.S.  Most of the victims are children and the elderly.  The costs associated with dog bites for litigation, medical treatment, and workers’ compensation is significant, according to the Postal Service.  The cost in pain and suffering cannot be measured.

Ways to be a responsible dog owner:

  • When a meter reader or letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room, or on a leash.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Statistics reflect that dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to be involved in a biting incident than neutered or spayed dogs.
  • 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.
  • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.

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An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 13 million via 4.6 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.