SDG&E offers tips during National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Media Contact:
Denise King

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066

        SAN DIEGO, May 14, 2009 – Dogs have earned their reputation as man’s best friend, but even the sweetest pup may bite.  Each year, nearly 5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  While children are the most common victims, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) meter readers also fall prey to such injuries.
        Last year, nearly 20 percent of the injuries suffered by SDG&E meter readers were from dog attacks, some of which were quite serious, according to Michelle M. Mueller, vice president of customer operations at SDG&E.  Safe entry to a customer’s yard is necessary for SDG&E to effectively serve customers and obtain an accurate meter read, she said.

        To promote safety and responsible pet ownership while recognizing National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 17-23, SDG&E offers these tips:

        • When a meter read is scheduled, securely confine dogs inside, away from the door, in another room;
        • Spay or neuter pets.  Neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite;
        • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation;
        • For everyone’s safety, don’t allow dogs to roam free;
        • Report any loose dogs to animal control.

        Mueller said customer cooperation is needed when it comes to preventing unnecessary dog attacks.  

        “Our nearly 200 meter readers, on average, walk about 260 miles per year,” she said.  “This exposes them to all sorts of risks.  We need the help of our customers to avoid unsafe confrontations with their dogs.”

        Mueller said meter-read dates are on the monthly utility bill, so customers can plan ahead to have their pet properly restrained.  SDG&E meter readers are instructed not to enter a yard if they determine their safety may be compromised.  Even if the owner is holding onto the dog, the meter reader is instructed to retreat.  That’s because dogs can become protective, more aggressive and difficult to handle, often breaking free from the owner’s control.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.