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Man's Best Friend Can Pose Safety Hazard For Ameren Employees

Reminder: Children are home for summer break, keep pets safely secured

ST. LOUIS (May 30, 2024) – Even the friendliest of dogs can bite when scared, startled or protecting its territory. Dog bites and injuries related to trying to escape from an aggressive dog pose serious safety concerns for Ameren employees.

Ameren has more than 100,000 miles of power lines and over 23,000 miles of natural gas pipelines throughout the communities it serves, which means crews must access neighborhoods and backyards to make repairs or trim vegetation in an effort to ensure customer reliability. As crews work along company easement areas, they frequently encounter dogs, which can sometimes result in safety issues.

To highlight this issue and in conjunction with children being home for summer break, Ameren is providing information for a safe environment for pets, Ameren employees and neighborhood children.

Since 2020, 39 Ameren field workers have required medical attention because they have been attacked or sustained injuries trying to evade an aggressive dog. In March, an Ameren Illinois employee was reading a natural gas meter and was bitten by the customer's leashed dog. An Ameren Missouri employee was standing on an asphalt driveway when a dog charged causing the employee to fall to the ground. The employee was not bitten, but the co-worker twisted his ankle because of the fall and subsequently, missed nine days of work.

“While we appreciate and understand that owners love their pets, we’re seeing too many employees being injured or attacked by dogs when entering back yards to service our customers' natural gas and electric equipment,” said Karen Boulanger, Director of Safety, Ameren. “In addition to providing training to our workers on how to avoid a dog bite, we need our customers to do their part to keep pets away from our employees so they can safely perform their work.”

As a safety precaution, Ameren is reminding customers that pets on the loose or leashed to equipment can be hazardous for employees. Customers are asked to safely secure their dogs when a utility worker is scheduled to visit a home or business. Here are some safety recommendations:

  • Never leash a pet to any utility equipment – meter, pole, supporting wires.
  • If a utility worker is outside the home or business, securely confine the dog inside. If the Ameren worker needs to enter the home, keep the pet securely confined.
  • An invisible electric fence will not always keep a determined dog from breaking through.
  • Post a Beware of Dog sign on your fence or house to warn utility workers about the presence of a dog at the residence.
  • A dog’s vaccinations and inoculations for rabies and parasites should always be up to date.
  • If you have a dog, please consider notifying Ameren Illinois at 1-800-755-5000 or Ameren Missouri at 1-800-552-7583 so that it is clearly noted on your customer account.

Ameren field workers are trained to:

  • Never assume a dog is friendly.
  • Have a "cautious calm" and confident attitude and remain in a front-facing position with the dog to demonstrate dominance.
  • Give dogs their space.
  • Do not run, which could trigger the dog's chase/hunt instinct, and do not get closer to the dog than necessary.

If an attack appears imminent:

  • Change your stance from front-facing to a side position.
  • Loudly yell “NO,” “GET BACK,” or “STOP."

About Ameren Corporation

St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric transmission and distribution service and natural gas distribution service. Ameren Missouri provides electric generation, transmission and distribution service, as well as natural gas distribution service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops, owns and operates rate-regulated regional electric transmission projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. For more information, visit Ameren.com, or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenCorp, Facebook.com/AmerenCorp, or LinkedIn.com/company/Ameren.

Ameren Communications
314.554.2182 (Missouri media)
618.407.6894 (Illinois media)