PRESS RELEASE- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 9, 2015
Contact: Cory McKeown, 360-642-9349
Dog Bite Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tells us that “man and woman’s best friend bites more than 4.7 million people a year” and 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites annually. Unfortunately, residents and visitors to our county are no strangers to this painful statistic. On a monthly basis, Pacific County Health Department receives reports of dogs biting humans.
Experts in dog bite prevention believe that public education can help prevent these bites. Because seventy percent of fatal dog attacks and more than half of bite wounds requiring medical attention involve children, it is important that parents teach their children to learn how to reduce their chances of being bitten. And, because children are not the only victims of dog bites, adults should be familiar with bite prevention techniques, also.
Key bite prevention tips include:
- Never leave a baby or child alone with a dog
- Never disturb a dog that is caring for puppies, eating or sleeping or playing with a toy
- Never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog, or attempt to pet a dog that is tied up
- Don’t run past a dog
- Always ask the owner before petting someone’s dog. If the owner says it is okay, let the dog sniff you or the child first, then pet the dog’s sides or back gently
- If a dog approaches to sniff, stay still (“be still like a tree”) and remain calm. Avoid eye contact with the dog, as dogs can interpret this as aggression. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run
- Do not approach or play with a dog unless supervised by an adult
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”)
- Choose a new household puppy or dog carefully and socialize your pet so it feels at ease around people of all ages and other animals. Half of all bites are inflicted by the family dog
- Don’t put your dog or puppy in a position where it feels threatened or teased
- Avoid playing highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war with dogs
- Train your dog basic commands to build a bond of obedience and trust
- Wait until your child is older than 4 years of age to bring a dog into your home
- Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Overall health care is important because how your dog feels directly affects how it behaves
- Spay or neuter your pet. Available science suggests that altered dogs may be less likely to bite
- Obey leash laws
Pacific County has a universal leash law code that states that it is unlawful for any owner of a dog in the county to allow the dog to roam at large- dogs that are away from the premises of the owner must be controlled by a leash or chain not more than eight feet in length. The city codes of all our county communities and State parks also speak to this requirement. Penalty for failure to comply with the provisions of the code can result in fines and/or imprisonment in the county jail.
If your own dog bites you or your child, contact your health care provider for advice about wound treatment, and then contact the Pacific County Health Department for further assistance about any further monitoring of your pet that might be necessary. In Raymond/South Bend area call 360-875-9343, and in the South County area call 360-642-9349.
If a strange dog or someone else’s dog bites you or your child, first seek medical treatment for any wounds, and then notify law enforcement. Tell authorities everything you can about the dog: the owner’s name if known, the color and size of the dog; where the dog was encountered, and when you might have seen the dog previously. These details will help law enforcement personnel locate the dog.
Dogs are wonderful companions, and by acting responsibly, we can reduce dog bite injuries and enhance our relationships with our canine friends.