Remember these tips during ‘Dog Bite Prevention Week’

(News-Sentinel,com file photo)

Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control continues its efforts to educate the public on ways to prevent dog bites during national Dog Bite Prevention Week.

More than 700 bites to humans were reported to Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control in 2018. About 75 percent of the bites were to adults and 20 percent to children 12 and under. The vast majority of bites are from our own dogs or dogs we are familiar with. Education is the first step to preventing bites, and in 2018, the Humane Education Department taught the vital safety precautions to more than 2,000 children in the community.

“It’s important to understand that dogs don’t bite out of the blue,” shelter spokesperson Holly Pasquinelli said in a statement. “By teaching adults and children in our community a basic understanding of why dogs bite and how to interpret their dogs body language we’re working to keep them safe and keep dogs where they belong – at home with their families.”

HOW TO AVOID BEING BITTEN BY A DOG

· Be cautious around dogs you don’t know.

· Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.

· Avoid unfamiliar dogs. If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still like a tree. In most cases, the dog will go away when they determine you are not a threat.

· Don’t pet a dog by reaching through a fence or into a car window.

· Always ask permission before petting someone’s dog.

· Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.

· Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.

· If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.

· If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.

HOW TO PREVENT YOUR DOG FROM BITING

· Treat your own pets with respect and gentle handling.

· Don’t force your dog into a situation that might scare them.

· Socialize your dog or young puppy, so they feel at ease around people and other animals. Gradually expose your dog to a variety of situations under controlled circumstances; continue that exposure on a regular basis.

· Don’t allow your dog to be in places where they might feel threatened or be teased.

· Attend a dog training class. The basic manners “sit,” “stay,” “off,” and “come” can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of obedience and trust between pets and people.

· Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.

· Always use a leash when in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.

· Keep your dog healthy with yearly vaccinations. How your dog feels directly affects how they behave.

· Spay or neuter your pet. Altered dogs are less likely to bite.

· Don’t chain your dog. Chaining increases aggression in dogs.

What Should I Do If My Dog Bites Someone?

Even if the bite can be explained (e.g., someone stepped on your dog’s tail), it’s important to take responsibility for your dog’s actions. Indiana law requires a biting animal (dog, cat or ferret) be placed in 10-day rabies quarantine even if they are vaccinated?

Many people are hesitant to report bites because they are afraid of the outcome. Once a report is filed, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control must determine the severity of the bite, where the bite occurred (at home or off property) and how many times the animal has bitten. Those factors will determine whether or not the animal will be placed in the home for the quarantine period or housed at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control for the ten (10) days required by state law. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control does not automatically put biting animals to sleep. Owners that report bites are doing the responsible thing for the safety of other animals and the bite victim(s), human or animal. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control wants nothing more than for the people and animals to be safe and healthy. Our goal, whenever possible, is to keep your animal at home where it belongs.

After a bite occurs, the following steps should be taken:

Confine your dog away from the scene of the bite.

Check on the victim’s condition. Wash wounds with soap and water. Professional medical advice should be sought.

Report the bite. Call Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control inside the city and the sheriff’s department in the county.

Consult your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior that will help prevent similar problems in the future.

If someone else’s dog bites you, seek medical treatment, then call authorities with everything you know about the dog to help animal control officers locate the dog.

For more information about bite prevention programs at the shelter and educational materials visit fwacc.org.

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