City promotes safety lessons during National Dog Bite Prevention Week

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  City leaders are encouraging people to get safety lessons during National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 18-24.

Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control remind parents to supervise the interactions between children and dogs. “Young children often lack the skills to understand when an animal is uncomfortable or just wants to be left alone, so the key to safety is supervision and education. Giving a child too much responsibility for a pet too early puts them at risk of being bitten,” said shelter spokesperson Peggy Bender.

Programs to promote safety can be requested by calling the shelter’s education division at 260-427-2590.

Animal Care & Control offers the following safety tips:

• Be cautious around dogs you don’t know.
• Treat your own pets with respect and gentle handling.
• NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
• Avoid unfamiliar dogs. If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
• Don’t pet a dog by reaching through a fence.
• 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.

To prevent your dog from biting:

• Socialize your dog or young puppy, so it feels 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 it might feel threatened or be teased.
• Attend a dog training class. The basic commands “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.
• Use a leash 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 it behaves.
• Spay or neuter your pet. Altered dogs are less likely to bite.
• Don’t chain your dog. Chaining increases aggression in dogs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites each year; half of which are children. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages five to nine years, and nearly two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region.

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