The Gas Company offers tips during National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


        LOS ANGELES, 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, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) meter readers also fall prey to such injuries.

        Last year, about one-third of the injuries suffered by The Gas Company’s meter readers were from dog attacks, some of which were quite serious, according to Michelle M. Mueller, vice president of customer operations at The Gas Company.  Safe entry to a customer’s yard is necessary for The Gas Company 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, The Gas Company 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 1,000 meter readers walk more than 1.6 million 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.  Gas Company 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.

        Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.5 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.