Report: Dog bites on the rise - WNEM TV 5

Report: Dog bites on the rise

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Dog bites are on the rise and Michigan is on the wrong side of the rankings among states.

State Farm ranks Michigan sixth in the nation for insurance claims made regarding dog bite injuries.

"It broke its chain and then came at me and got me several times in the leg," said Jennifer Frasle, mail carrier.

She had a run in with a dog while she deliver mail 10 years ago. She said the dog's owner was able to step in before the situation got worse.

"It's kind of intimidating and scary, especially when it's a larger dog. But you know, even a smaller dog can do some damage too," Frasle said.

State Farm spokesperson Katie Caldwell said a man's best friend wasn't so friendly in 2016. The insurance company reported 3,660 claims for dog bites nationally, totaling $121 million.

In Michigan, dog bites went up 33 percent with 160 claims adding up to $4 million.

The cost on average per claim is $26,500, with 50 percent of dog bite victims being children.

"That's a huge concern of ours, especially when we're talking about our kids," Caldwell said.

It turns out children aren't the only ones at risk for dog bites.

The United States Postal Service in the greater Michigan district they serve, which is everywhere outside of Flint and Detroit, had dog bites increase by 18 percent from this time last year.

The USPS is part of the National Dog Bit Prevention Coalition.

Frasle said she is glad her employer is trying to raise awareness about a growing problem.

"If our customers are aware of what's going on and can keep their dogs contained, that's the best thing for us and keeps everybody safe that way," Frasle said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates half of children 14 and younger have been bitten by a dog.

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