Ameren Illinois is appealing to customers after a series of dog attacks resulting in serious injuries to workers. Company spokesman Brian Bretsch said Thursday that there have about a half-dozen attacks the last few months, primarily involving dogs that have been allowed to run loose. But he said workers also have been attacked by dogs chained or tied to utility equipment, including power poles. Worker injuries requiring emergency room treatment and antibiotics have included puncture wounds, scratches and a broken wrist. “It’s the time of year when people are home more and dogs are out more,” Bretsch said. “We’re basically asking customers to do their part to keep our workers safe, as well as the neighborhood children.” Most of the attacks have occurred at homes and have been spread across Ameren Illinois territory, Bretsch said. Ameren Illinois serves 1.2 million electric and 816,000 natural gas customers in central and southern Illinois. There have been 40 dog attacks in the last five years on field workers, from engineers to installation and repair technicians, that have required medical treatment, according to the company. Safety recommendations include confining dogs when workers are at the home, posting “beware of dog” signs, avoiding leashing pets to utility equipment and keeping vaccinations up to date. Bloomington-based State Farm reported last month that the insurer paid $10.8 million in claims last year on 315 dog bites in Illinois. Illinois was second only to $16.2 million in claims paid on 445 dog attacks in California.
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