For utility workers, a dog’s bite is always worse than its bark. Every day, utility employees across California need to enter yards and homes to provide gas and electric services to customers. This routine part of their job can be hazardous when dog owners leave pets loose.
May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, a public service campaign that emphasizes the need for increased pet owner responsibility in the prevention of dog bites. PG&E, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric remind customers to keep dogs secure when a utility worker is scheduled to visit a home or business.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite about 4.5 million people in the United States each year, with one in five dog bites resulting in injuries that 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. Here are some tips to help prevent dog bites and provide a safe environment for both your pets and utility employees:
- Securely confine or relocate your dog during scheduled customer service visits and when it’s time for utility workers 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.
- Dogs may become more protective in the presence of their owners. Dog owners or guardians should make sure their dog is securely confined where it cannot come into contact with the utility worker or they should restrain their dog when utility workers are in their presence.
- If the utility worker is outside, keep your dog securely confined inside. If the worker is inside, keep your dog securely confined outside.
- 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 it 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 dogs in any situation.
- Collar your dog, so you have the means to quickly restrain your dog in any emergency.
- If you get a new dog, contact your local utilities to let them know.