How to prevent dog bites

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control is working to prevent dog bites.

The organization said there have been more than 700 bites reported to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control in 2018. The vast majority were from dogs the victim owned or were familiar with.

Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control said education is the first step to preventing bites. The Humane Education Department taught 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. “By teaching adults and children in our community a basic understanding of why dogs bite and how to interpret their dog’s body language we’re working to keep them safe and keep dogs where they belong – at home with their families.”

The organization said if your dog bites someone, take responsibility. Indiana law requires an animal that bit someone be placed in 10 days rabies quarantine, even if they have been vaccinated.

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, and then call authorities with everything you know about the dog to help animal control officers locate the dog.
  • Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries but also enhance the relationship they have with their dogs. For more information about bite prevention programs at the shelter and educational materials visit fwacc.org.

The organization offered the following tips 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.

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.
Jacob Burbrink

Jacob Burbrink

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