NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The number of dog-related injury claims rose slightly in Texas in 2016 according to State Farm statistics.
In 2016 the insurance company handled 168 claims compared to 165 claims in 2015. However, Texas’ ranking in dog-related injury claims dropped from #3 in the nation to #5.
In 2016, State Farm says its customers reported 3,660 dog-related injury claims nationally, a 15 percent increase over the previous year.
The total paid on dog-related injury claims last year was a record $121,705,968.
The 168 dog-related injury claims in Texas last year totaled $3.1 million.
California led the nation with 433 claims totaling $16.8 million.
Monday marks the beginning of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
State Farm says children make up more than more than 50 percent of all dog bite victims. Elderly and mail carriers are also high on the list of frequent victims.
In fact, dog attacks on postal workers rose last year to 6,755, up 206 from the previous year and the highest in three decades, as internet shopping booms and consumers increasingly demand seven-day-a-week package delivery and groceries dropped at their doorstep.
Meantime, renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell says to avoid injury, it’s important for people to learn dogs’ body language.
She says too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. For example, a dog that yawns might not necessarily be tired. Yawning can also be a sign of stress.
She says it’s important to give dogs space. Dogs can feel threatened when strange people touch them, so take pressure off by giving them the choice to come into your space first to say hello.
Also, how people treat dogs has a huge impact on their behavior. Dogs that are raised and trained humanely are more confident and less likely to bite than dogs that are trained using punitive methods or equipment designed to intimidate and cause pain.