HONOLULU (KHON2) — Nearly 55% of households in the United States own a dog, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are steps people should take to keep themselves and others safe in case of an attack.

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With National Dog Bite Awareness Week starting June 5, it is the perfect time to be aware of why dogs bite and how to prevent a dog from biting.

The Hawaiian Humane Society said dogs have triggers and can bite when they are playful, protective, scared, hurt or sick.

Most recently, one Big Island dog attack left a victim hospitalized.

The Hawaiian Humane Society also has reasons for behavioral issues and how to treat them.

An active step in making sure the community is safe, Hawaii County officials said they are in the process of adding an animal control and protection agency.

The CDC suggests:

  • Always watch kids around dogs, even familiar ones.
  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog, even if it looks friendly.
  • As a dog owner, keep the dog on a leash and train and socialize the dog.

The CDC said kids are the most common victim of dog bites and one in five bites require medical treatment.

Though bites happen, they can be prevented by following the CDC’s recommendations above.

The U.S. Postal Service celebrates National Dog Bite Awareness Week by sharing statistics and prevention tips.

In 2022, 5,300 mail carriers reported being attacked by dogs nationwide, with 22 of them being in Hawaii.

Hawaii ranked number 42 among all states in the number of dog attacks in 2022.

2022 top five state rankings for dog attacks on USPS mail carriers:

  1. California: 675
  2. Texas: 404
  3. New York: 321
  4. Pennsylvania: 313
  5. Ohio: 311

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USPS said last year, most attacks reported by mail carriers came from owners who said their dog doesn’t bite.