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Holiday season brings rise in dog attacks, postal service says

San Diego residents love their dogs, often thinking of them as part of the family. It can be easy to forget about the possibility that a dog might bite a person, leading to serious injury.

Every December, there is a rise in the number of dog bites, according to the United States Postal Service. To raise awareness of the issue, mail carriers in San Diego have been wearing T-shirts that promote dog bit awareness.

During the holiday season, children are at home from school, sometimes visiting relatives who have dogs. Likewise, mail carriers deliver more packages to homes at this time of year, including homes where dogs live. As a result of all the activity during this time of year, there are more encounters between dogs and strangers, and some of them result in an agitated animal.

Under California law, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. This means that the injured person does not need to prove in court that the owner did anything wrong that resulted in the attack. As long as the animal was responsible for the injury, the owner is liable for the damages.

These damages can be very high. Dog bites can lead to serious injury in some cases. Even when the injuries are not life-threatening, they can lead to facial disfigurement and emotional disturbance. This may be especially true in cases in the many cases in which the victim is a child.

Those who have been injured by another person's dog can be compensated through a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney with experience in personal injury law can help counsel the injured to determine their legal options.

Source: 7 San Diego, "Dog Bites Rise During Holiday Season," Matthew Wood, Dec. 9, 2013

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