May 16, 2007

LONG BEACH, Calif., May 16, 2006—Southern California Edison (SCE) will join   the U.S. Postal Service and other parties tomorrow to promote safety and responsible pet ownership while recognizing National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 20 through 26, at a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the USPS downtown Long Beach facility, 300 Long Beach Blvd.

SCE, the Postal Service, the American Veterinary Medical Association, Long Beach Animal Control, and Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, the emergency veterinarian on the Discovery Channel’s popular “Animal Plant” program, will talk about responsible pet ownership and preventing animal attacks on children and the elderly.

The Centers for Disease Control report that Southern California has recorded the highest incidence of dog attacks of any region in the U.S. in the past year.  According to the Postal Service, there are nearly five million victims annually in the U.S. of dog attacks, most of them small children and the elderly. In fact, children are 900 times more likely to be bitten than letter carriers, according to the Postal Service.

More than 3,100 letter carriers are bitten annually, as well as hundreds of meter readers and other utility workers in the United States.  Employees of the Postal Service and SCE who have experienced animal attacks while working will attend the event.

SCE’s 15,000 employees include approximately 1,200 meter readers and field service employees who frequently must deal with angry or frightened dogs, extreme weather, obstructed pathways, street crime and gangs, spiders, exposed nails, debris and even the occasional snake or hornets nest.

"We’ve seen an increase in the number of dog attacks over this past year,” said Kevin Ellison, SCE director of meter services.  “We recorded 17 injuries related to dog attacks in the first quarter of this year.  For all of 2006, we recorded 42 dog attacks.  We train our field employees on how to avoid dangerous animal situations, but to reduce the number of dog-attacks we’re asking for the cooperation of the public.”

The costs associated with dog attacks for medical treatment, lost work time, workers’ compensation and litigation is significant according to the Postal Service.  The cost in pain and suffering cannot be measured and the impact of an attack typically lasts a lifetime in terms of physical or emotional damage. 

 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 pet. Neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite. 
  • 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.
  • For everyone’s safety, don’t allow your dog to roam.
  • Report any dogs running loose in your neighborhood to animal control. Help keep your neighborhood safe for everyone.

The dates for scheduled meter reads are typically printed on the monthly bills.  On those days, customers are asked to confine their dogs and leave yard gates unlocked.  SCE customers also can call the utility to make special access arrangements.  

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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 4.8 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.