Dallas & BSL: Demystifying USPS Dog Attack Report



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To kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week, United States Postal Service​ released its “Top Dog Attack Rankings by City” last week. A joint effort by the Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry, the report was released along with tips to reduce dog attacks to letter carriers and to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by providing prevention tips.

The City of Dallas ranked 5th worst in the nation in 2014 – recording 43 letter carrier dog bites or attacks. Unfortunately, some city council members see this as an opportunity to bring back BSL, as reported by CBS News.

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Two council members in particular are mentioned in this news article:

Dallas City Councilman Rick Callahan: “It’s just reprehensible in this city that we don’t take a tougher stance. I agree with my colleague that we should strongly consider making it illegal to own a pit bull in Dallas, Texas. It’s always the pit bulls, you never hear about the other dogs.”

Dallas City Council Member Dwaine Caraway: “I was leading the charge on banning dangerous dogs, preferably pit bulls. At the end of the day dangerous dogs have no place roaming.” PLEASE NOTE: Caraway also handed Michael Vick a key to the city of Dallas in February 2011.

These 2 council members have set their eyes on BSL for quite some time. From Nov 2014, Dallas News, “Ex-postman, Dallas fight battle against stray dogs”:

Officials say they are working to rectify the loose dog problem citywide. Roberson’s council member, Rick Callahan, said education will be key, and that more people need to spay, neuter and restrain their dogs.

“So many people just permit their animals to roam the streets,” Callahan said. “That’s a violation of the law. We’ll continue to work block by block to keep people re-educated about what the rules, what the laws, what the ordinances are.”

…Council member Dwaine Caraway, who said he has “been raising hell about dogs forever,” complimented the efforts of the city’s code compliance department. But he said there is more work to do.

“Something is going to be done,” Caraway said. “A more aggressive approach will take place, and we will work with council member Callahan, who has been an advocate of trying to get these stray dogs and dogs under control.

As you can see, the problem has always been loose dogs. The 43 letter carrier bites in 2014 is high; however, if you take in the number of housing units, which is 516,639 (according to 2013 Census data, including multi-units), it came down to less than 0.01% of letter carrier dog bite incidents per housing units for the whole year. If you account the number of times mail is delivered to all those units in 2014 (516,639 X 6 days/week X 52 weeks = 161,191,368 mail deliveries aka potential dog bite incidents), the number becomes so insignificant it barely registers (0.000027%).

Now let’s look at the Fiscal Impact of implementing BSL. Using Best Friends BSL Fiscal Impact calculator, estimated animal control costs of BSL in Dallas:

  • $1,098,539 for enforcement
  • $231,657 for kenneling
  • $172,259 for DNA testing
  • $183,506 for legal services
  • $28,131 for the cost of killing the pets who are confiscated

TOTAL = $1,714,092! These are significant budgetary costs. Download the fact sheet (PDF) which articulates the flaw in BSL further:

Breed-discriminatory laws not only interfere with responsible pet owners’ property rights, but can quickly become a serious burden on local governments and a waste of tax dollars. Undoubtedly, enforcement of such a law drains needed resources from truly important and vital government services, such as fire protection, parks and road maintenance.

In addition, governments that interfere with citizens’ property rights through breed-discriminatory provisions have the burden of proving the heritage of individual pets and providing constitutional due process protections before seizing and housing them. As a result, the costs for enforcement go well beyond the traditional role of animal control services (to target the actual behavior of individual dogs) and into other, more costly areas of local government, frequently involving expensive and lengthy litigation. During the court proceedings, the city is responsible for picking up the tab for housing the dog until the trial and appeal are concluded.

Enforcing a breed-discriminatory law, then, will ultimately deplete the limited resources that The City of Dallas can allocate for animal control and require that the additional funds be taken from other departments or local programs and services.

Bottom line: The Government in Dallas should not waste taxpayer money or interfere with property rights through BSL when the potential incident is less than 0.0001% per housing unit.

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So what are the alternatives? Here are some that has been proven to reduce dog bites incident without enacting BSL:

  • Put a stop to leash law violations
  • Strengthen and enforce penalties for dangerous owners and their dogs
  • Crack down on dog fighting
  • Strengthen animal abuse laws
  • Prevent criminals from owning dogs
  • Regulate breeders
  • Nuisance ordinances
  • Fund public spay/neuter initiatives
  • Educate about dog behavior
  • Encourage responsible dog ownership

Learn more about BSL, why it does not work and alternative solutions.

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Dogs in Hot Cars



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Summer is here and we’d like to remind everyone to NEVER leave anyone, especially children and animals, in a closed, parked vehicle.

Sadly, last year alone, 30 children died of heat stroke in the US; all preventable deaths. It doesn’t have to be warm outside for a car to become dangerously hot inside.

An independent study published in Pediatrics (2005) showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96°F rose steadily as time increased.

Elapsed time Temperature rise inside vehicle
10 minutes 19°F
20 minutes 29°F
30 minutes 34°F
60 minutes 43°F
1 to 2 hours 5-50°F

 

What does this mean? It means on an 80°F day, the temperature in the car can rise to 99°F in just 10 minutes. Ten minutes after that, it will be 109°F!

Cracking the windows does not help.

Dogs regulate their temperature by panting, expelling heat out. If the dog cannot expel the heat fast enough, the body temperature rises. At 104°F, a dog can no longer cope with reducing body heat and the oxygen demand goes up to where the dog’s temperature continues to rise. At 108°F, the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and intestinal tracts begin breaking down, and the damage can progress at an alarming rate.

Rapid breathing, dry mouth and nose, rapid heart rate, and gums that become a dull, greyish-pink, or red, are all early stages of heat stroke. And, these symptoms can be followed in minutes by collapse, seizures, coma and death. See below for signs of heat stroke and learn more at noheatstroke.org.

“When you do an autopsy on a dog that died this way [in a hot car], the organs are soupy.”
Shawn Messonnier, Veterinarian – Plano, Texas

 

Why can’t dogs handle heat?

Unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. To cool down, they pant — they take quick, shallow breaths through open-mouths, often with their tongues sticking out. This helps to evaporate water from the moist lining of the oral cavity, cooling the animal. However, panting can actually add to the heat in a parked car and speed up overheating. To learn more about Thermoregulation and how dogs are ill equipped to handle the heat inside a parked car, please visit My Dog is Cool.

 

What To Do If You See A Pet Left In A Hot Car

(Source: My Dog is Cool – Help! I See a Dog In a Hot Car)

  1. Take down the car’s make, model, license-plate number and its specific location. Note a description and condition of the dog(s). Quickly use your smart phone or camera to film the situation, especially if any signs of distress are observed (see below). Also note the time and outside temperature if you have access to that information.
  2. If the owner can’t be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. If you don’t have the local numbers, call 911. Along with getting help, this will create a “record” of the event (311 can also route you to the best agency to help). Some locations, such as malls, amusement parks or office buildings, will have on-site security that may be able to help take action.
  3. If there are businesses nearby, ask their managers or security guards to make announcements using the vehicle’s make/model to locate the dog’s guardian.
  4. Return to the vehicle to monitor the dog’s condition and help responding authorities locate the vehicle.
  5. If you need to take immediate action to save the dog’s life and remove the animal from the car, make sure you’ve gathered as much evidence of the situation and dog’s condition as you can, including involving near-by witnesses. Remember this is a last resort if it looks like the animal won’t live until officers arrive – even if you save the animal, you can still be charged with a crime and face repercussions.

If your town doesn’t have a law prohibiting leaving pets in parked cars, contact your local representatives or attend a town hall meeting to start lobbying for one. Learn more at HSUS: What to Do If You See a Pet in a Hot Car.

Minutes can be the difference between life or death.

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Signs an animal is in heat-related distress:

  • Anxiety
  • Wide eyes
  • Fervent barking as if in distress
  • Intense scratching or digging at windows or doors trying to escape
  • Excessive panting with exaggerated long tongue
  • Extreme drooling, salivating
  • Change in color of the gums (blueish purple, bright red or pale from lack of oxygen)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Labored or trouble breathing
  • Disorientation, stumbling or poor coordination
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Collapse or loss of consciousness
  • Seizure
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Coma

Sidenote from My Dog is Cool: If a dog does become overwhelmed by heatstroke, it is not advised to submerge the entire dog in water or pour ice-cold water over the dog as the different temperatures are too much to regulate quickly (use tepid or cool water). Additionally, long-haired dogs can become waterlogged causing the fur to hold in the heat and not let it escape. As you pour water over a dog, wipe off the excess with your hand, helping to remove the heat as well and not let the dog’s fur trap in the heat.

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p.s. No, we do not encourage you to break every car window with a dog/cat/child inside. This is our most-shared poster — shared more than 110K times thanks to Rob Ruckus​ of Bad Ink on A&E​ — and the copy was meant to grab your attention, not to incite mass window smashing. :) Always use common sense & proper channels first: find the owner, notify the store/business and call the police. In some cases, you can be arrested for damage to property.

Currently, only 16 states (AZ, CA, IL, ME, MD, MN, NC, NV, NH, NJ, NY, ND, RI, SD, VT, and WV) have statutes that specifically prohibit leaving an animal in confined vehicle. While not all states have laws that address animals in parked vehicles, numerous local ordinances prohibit this and consider leaving an animal in an enclosed car to be animal cruelty. (Source: Michigan State University, Animal Legal & Historical Center)

Learn your local laws and act accordingly.

No Jail Time for Dogfighters, Injustice for Victims



honor

This is the face of dogfighting & injustice. Meet Honor, a gentle female pit bull who has had all of her teeth removed, a cruel practice by her abusers to ensure she would not harm the male dog during a forced mating. She was rescued on Thanksgiving 2012 during Animal Rescue Corps‘ “Operation Broken Chain” – a mission that saved nearly 70 dogs from the largest dog-fighting operation ever discovered in Tennessee. ARC volunteers nicknamed her Honor; she was fed peanut butter because she couldn’t chew.

We want you to share Honor’s story because although she is rescued, she did not get justice: Circuit Court JUDGE GEORGE SEXTON hands down suspended sentences to two of her abusers, Avery Bell & James Callis. NO JAIL TIME!!

Despite the no contest pleas, Judge George Sexton let them go free, and if they do not break the law, and comply with their probation terms, the sentence will most likely be dismissed.

NEWS:

From Mayday Pit Bull Rescue & Advocacy who took in Honor, Harpo, Felicia and Eileen, it is a real blow to the campaign against dogfighting: “It is far too little, far too late. We can only hope these convictions lay the groundwork for harsher penalties in the future. With all of the cruelty in the world, we prefer not to hear additional calls for cruelty by wishing the same abuse on the abusers. Instead, we ask that you get involved in creating new and more comprehensive laws against animal abuse. Take a look at: http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/ to learn how you can help.”

From BSL News: What You Can Do to Fight Bully Breedism: “How could Judge George Sexton let these monsters go without being punished for committing countless heinous acts of cruelty? What kind of message does he think he is sending to the public? Or does he not care? Hearings for Gary Phelps and Arsenio Williams, the two other men charged in the case, are pending.”

CONTACT JUDGE GEORGE SEXTON
Phone: 931-296-7671 or 931-296-4544

MAIL
Judge George Sexton
Humphreys County Courthouse
102 Thompson Street, Room #205
Waverly, TN 37185

http://www.tncourts.gov/courts/circuit-criminal-chancery-courts/judges/george-c-sexton

Grand jury indictment handed down on January 7, 2013: James Callis, Gary Phelps, Arsenio Williams and Avery Bell were charged with 1 count of animal fighting, 60 counts of animal cruelty and 1 count of aggravated cruelty to animals. Avery Bell was also charge with setting fire to personal property and burning without a permit. (Source: Opposing Views, Dog Fighting: Trial Set for 4 Men Charged with Animal Fighting, Animal Cruelty in Tennessee Dog-Fighting Operation)

These dogs deserve nothing more. Judge George Sexton should be ashamed.
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Remember: DO NOT make violent comments — we understand this sentencing is a miscarriage of justice and it may anger you, but we’d like to keep this page clean from threats of violence/bodily harm.

Let’s direct that anger towards sharing this far and wide, CALL the judge to express your disappointment and KEEP YOUR COOL (When a threat is made against a judge, it can be considered obstruction of justice and is punishable by imprisonment). Thank you!

Photo credit: Amiee Stubbs Photography

Let’s Stomp Dogfighting



dogfight-aspca

What kind of society do we become if we lose our humanity?

Dogfighting is everywhere. From impromptu fight on inner-city streets to a well-planned tournament at a discreet rural venue, HSUS estimates that there are more than 40,000 people involved in organized dogfighting in the US and hundreds of thousands taking part in the streets. It’s not just in the “hood” or by “thugs”; it involves people from all walks of life, including law enforcement officers and city officials.

WATCH THIS VIDEO. **WARNING** It contains raw footage of dogfighting and the saddest part: you will see dogs who did not want to fight but weren’t allowed to leave the pit.

None of these dogs want this life. Who would want to live in constant fear, hunger, being fought whenever their owners see fit, being “badly wounded, suffering heavy bleeding, ruptured lungs, broken bones, and other life threatening injuries. If the losers of these matches do not die of their injuries, they are tortured to death for humiliating their owners.”(Source: Dog Fighting Revealed)

And worse: kids are watching these fights, or even involved, fighting their own dogs in back alleys.

We need to stomp this epidemic. Sgt. Steve Brownstein, of Chicago PD’s Animal Abuse Control Team, relayed his experience during his high crime patrol:

Children, who often take part as spectators, fighters, or “runners” for the betting operation, are desensitized to animal suffering and criminality. A fifth grader by his uncle’s side at a dogfight told Brownstein he was the only bystander who didn’t “explode with laughter” when a defeated dog urinated and defecated upon himself before dying.

“The danger is that [children] will emulate the violence around them,” Brownstein says. Some question the validity of eradicating dogfighters in a world plagued with “bigger problems.” Brownstein counters with a simple question: “What kind of society do we become if our children lose their humanity?”

We couldn’t agree more. So if you suspect dogfighting, call these numbers:

1-877-TIP-HSUS (1-877-847-4787)
1-877-215-2250
More about rewards from Pit Bull Rescue Central

You can also help put a stop to it:
** Share the ASPCA video above
** Learn how to spot dogfighting (PDF)

Remember: dogfighting is a secretive, underground activity, only people involved in it know exactly when and where each fight takes place, but it happens everywhere. It may be happening right now in your town or city.

Share, educate and advocate!

Any Dog Can Bite. Here’s How You Can Prevent It



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As part of National Dog Bite Prevention week, here are some facts, tools & resources that can help prevent dog bites and improve our community by educating people about responsible dog ownership.

We’ve come across many videos showing alarming interaction between kids & dogs. Clueless parents in the background videotaping and laughing at the seemingly harmless interactions. When dogs are showing teeth and nipping at your kid, it’s NOT funny nor cute nor harmless. And as guardians of the breeds most sensationalized by the media in regards to dog bites, please pay heed.

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There are 70 million nice dogs, but ANY DOG CAN BITE. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.

“Even the cuddliest, fuzziest,sweetest pup can bite if provoked. Most people are bitten by their own dog or one they know. Some owners actually promote aggression in their dogs or allow aggression to go unchecked. Although media reports and rumors often give the impression that certain breeds of dog are more likely to bite, there is little scientific evidence to support those claims,” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) added.

 

Dog Bite Facts

 

biteprevention-infographic

Partial infographic. Get the full AVMA’s Dog Bites by the Numbers Infographic

  • Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs
  • Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention
  • Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children
  • Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured
  • Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs
  • Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims

 

Why Do Dogs Bite?

There are several possible reasons why a dog may bite a child (or anyone):

  • The dog is protecting a possession, food or water dish or puppies
  • The dog is protecting a resting place
  • The dog is protecting its owner or the owner’s property
  • The child has done something to provoke or frighten the dog (e.g., hugging the dog, moving into the dog’s space, leaning or stepping over the dog, trying to take something from the dog)
  • The dog is old and grumpy and having a bad day and has no patience for the actions of a child
  • The dog is injured or sick
  • The child has hurt or startled it by stepping on it, poking it or pulling its fur, tail or ears
  • The dog has not learned bite inhibition and bites hard by accident when the child offers food or a toy to the dog
  • The child and dog are engaging in rough play and the dog gets overly excited
  • The dog views the child as a prey item because the child is running and/or screaming near the dog or riding a bicycle or otherwise moving past the dog
  • The dog is of a herding breed and nips while trying to “herd” the children

In addition, a recent study (by Tufts University, et al) examining the circumstances surrounding 256 dog bite-related fatalities (DBRFs) in the United States found 7 major co-occurring factors:

  1. Absence of an able bodied person to intervene (occurred in 87.1% of cases)
  2. Incidental or no relationship between victim and dog (85.2%)
  3. Owner failure to neuter dogs (84.4%)
  4. Compromised ability of victims to interact appropriately with dogs (victims were either <5 years old or had a limited physical or mental capacity) (77.4%)
  5. Dogs kept isolated from regular positive human interactions vs family dogs (76.2%)
  6. Owner’s prior mismanagement of dogs (37.5%)
  7. Owner’s history of abuse or neglect of dogs (21.1%)

Four or more of these factors co-occurred in 80.5% of deaths. The study concluded that most DBRFs were characterized by coincident, preventable factors, and breed was not one of these (20 breeds, including 2 known mixes, were identified).* This study supports multifactorial approaches for dog bite prevention, not single-factor solutions such as breed specific legislation. Key takeaway: all of the co-occurring factors are human-controlled.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to address and avoid dog bites, from properly training and socializing your pets, learning to read your dog’s body language and recognizing the triggers to educating your children (and adults) on how – or if – they should approach a dog and to safely interact with the dog.

 

Do Dogs Bite “Out of the Blue”?

No, dogs do not bite “out of the blue.” There are always warning signs before a bite occurs, but these can be very subtle and may be missed by many people. A dog may appear to tolerate being repeatedly mauled by a child and one day bites, surprising everyone. Sometimes the warning have gone on for months or even years before the dog finally loses its tolerance and bites.

Read this great article by Madeline Gabriel that explains that dogs do not bite “out of the blue”.

People who own good dogs sometimes are lulled into a sense of safety and lax because “good dogs don’t bite children…or do they?” Often times, once you determine that you have a “Good Dog” you tend to leave it at that and just go about your life with dog and baby. What we forget to consider is that just like us, dogs have good days and bad days. On any given day, at any given time, your dog is somewhere along that continuum.  Have you ever had one of those days?  You know…bad day at work, skipped lunch, lots of traffic, big headache?  You come home and even something minor goes wrong and isn’t it possible that you may “snap” at someone you love?

It’s the same with dogs. Even over the course of a single day, your dog may go from feeling relaxed and easy-going to tense and cranky — just like you.  Living with babies and small children can make for a grueling day. That 4:30-6:30 time that used to be known as Happy Hour? It’s often the LEAST happy time with tired parents, babies crying, kids squabbling and a parent trying to make dinner. Everyone is a bit on edge and that includes the family dog.

The trick to preventing bites is to really look at your dog. What does he or she look like when relaxed and happy? What changes when your dog is getting a little worried or overwhelmed? Where is your dog right now on that body language continuum? Take mental snapshots throughout the day and place your dog along that line.  Learn the body language changes that signal moves in one direction or another. (See Look, Ma!  My Body Is Talking to You!)

biteprevention-bodylanguage

 

Learn the difference in expressions of dogs that are happy and dogs that want to be left alone:

Stress to children that they should only pet happy dogs. You may think that your dog loves to have the children climbing all over him and hugging him, but if you see any of these signs, then you are being warned that a bite could occur if the dog feels he has no other way of defending himself. Do your dog and your child a favor and intervene if you notice any of these signs.

 

biteprevention-kids

 

Signs that you should take very seriously that indicate that the dog is saying “I have been very patient with this child, but I am nearing the end of my patience”, include:

  • The dog gets up and moves away from the child
  • The dog turns his head away from the child
  • The dog looks at you with a pleading expression
  • You can see the “whites” of the dogs eyes, in a half moon shape
  • The dog yawns while the child approaches or is interacting with him
  • The dog licks his chops while the child approaches or is interacting with him
  • The dog suddenly starts scratching, biting or licking himself
  • The dog does a big “wet dog shake” after the child stops touching him

 

From For the Love of a Dog, by Patricia McConnell, PhD:

I don’t know how many times broken-hearted clients have told me that Barney had been doing so well; he’d handled the noise and chaos of the family picnic all day long, but just when everyone was about to leave, he fell apart and snapped, or nipped, or bit…If people could just see the signs of exhaustion or worry on their dogs’ faces, there’d be a lot fewer bites in the world, a lot fewer tears, and a lot more dogs living to old age.

 

Avoid Trigger Stacking

Again: dogs don’t bite “out of blue.” Sometimes nice dogs have just been subjected to one too many stressors and the result is a bite. Read this article by Casey Lomonaco that gives an example of how this stress load can accumulate and how a dog bite is like a games of Tetris:

“Bites are usually caused by an accumulation of stressors. Each time a dog is exposed to a stressor, stress hormones are dumped into the brain. These stress hormones are like the puzzle pieces in Tetris. They build up over time. You have to actively reduce the stress (like a Tetris player clearing lines) through management, desensitization, counter conditioning, and general stress reduction techniques. If you are not taking steps to reduce the stress, it begins to accumulate. The dumping of stress hormones into the brain leaves the dog increasingly sensitized to stressors, which replicates the puzzle pieces dropping faster and faster until you eventually reach the threshold. Soon, the dog bites. The game is over.”

Stressors vary in individual dogs. One dog may be stressed by loud noises, nail trimming, men with beards, foul weather and a bad diet. Another dog may not seemingly respond to these factors but is sensitive to visits to the vet’s office, small children, cats, people that smell like beer, dogs walking past the fenced in yard, and people approaching or entering the home. Every dog has stressors (commonly called “triggers”) and a big part of effective behavioral modification strategies is identifying these as accurately and thoroughly as possible, which allows behavior consultants and handlers to focus their efforts most efficiently. Stressors, like Tetris pieces, accumulate over time.

When the dog encounters one of his triggers, he might display low levels of stress such as sniffing the ground or a tongue flick or he may show aggression such as a freeze or a growl. When multiple stressors happen at the same time or very close together, they will have a cumulative effect on the dog’s bite threshold. This is called trigger stacking and it explains why a dog who has never bitten in the past bites, because he was pushed over his bite threshold.

 

biteprevention-triggers

 

Supervise, Supervise, Supervise

Never leave a child unattended with your pets. You want to be PROACTIVE and ACTIVE. Even if you are familiar with dog body language and communication, and know what to look for that indicates stress or conflict, always be proactive and active. And remember, dogs do NOT bite out of the blue.

biteprevention-supervision

“Supervision is not well understood,” said Dr. Ilana Reisner, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and consultant on dog bite safety who recently presented tips for parents during a National Press Club event hosted by State Farm and the United States Postal Service. “Dog owners in general are lacking knowledge about what kinds of things dogs and children do that can be a risk. For example, they might go out of the room and prepare lunch while the child is alone with the dog maybe 10-20 feet away, and that’s not active supervision. If that’s one message we can get across I think it would prevent a lot of bites.”

Breed bias can also play a factor in dog bites to children. While breed bias often reflects unfounded fears toward breeds that may be a danger to our kids, it can also work the other way, when dogs considered to be “safe” are allowed to interact unsupervised with children.

“Just because you happen to have a dog that’s considered to be a great family pet doesn’t mean that it would be safe for a toddler to crawl up to that dog and give him a hug when he’s sleeping,” Dr. Reisner said.

Of course, proper interaction applies to adults as well. Check out this illustration by Doggie Drawings on how NOT to greet a dog.

 

biteprevention-greet

And ALWAYS ask the person handling the dog if it’s OK to greet it before you walk up to it. Not every dog is OK with strangers coming up to them and that’s OK.

So, please remember:

  • Prevention is the way to go
  • Dogs don’t bite “out of the blue”: Learn to read a dog’s body language and teach children to only pet happy dogs
  • Supervise: Never leave a child unattended with your pets, ever!
  • Breed does not matter: Any dog can bite, regardless of breed. Just because a dog is a pug or a poodle doesn’t mean it won’t bite if pushed too far
  • Know the triggers: Know your dog’s triggers and do your best to avoid putting him into those situations that just might push him too far. And watch out for overload of triggers. Set your dog up for success and avoid accumulation of stressors by taking your dog out of the situation
  • Respect the dog: Every dog has the right to say no. If your dog is saying “no,” you have to respect that. And teach your kids to respect that

At every moment of the day, your dog is giving you a status update. Understanding what a dog’s behavior is telling us and how our behavior may be interpreted by a dog is essential to reducing dog bites. Know when they look stressed, and be ready to remove them for the situation when necessary. You just need to look and your dog will tell you.

Because at the end, it’s the kid AND the dog that pay the price. All because of the clueless and careless parents.

Always remember to be your dog’s advocate. Let’s make your family and community safer through education and responsible pet ownership.

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Resources:

AVMA’s Dog Bite Prevention
AVMA’s Dog Bites by the Numbers Infographic
Doggone Safe
Dog Bite Prevention brochure (PDF)
How Not to Greet A Dog poster
How Kids and Pets Should Not Interact poster (PDF)
How Kids and Pets Should Interact poster (PDF)
Teach Kids to Be a Tree
Co-occurrence of Potentially Preventable Factors in 256 Dog Bite-related Fatalities in the United States (2000-2009)

p.s. Responsible dog ownership and public education must be a primary focus of any dog bite prevention policy. Read why BSL is an ineffective response.

*For 401 dogs described in various media accounts, reported breed differed for 124 (30.9%); for 346 dogs with both media and animal control breed reports, breed differed for 139 (40.2%). Valid breed determination was possible for only 45 (17.6%) DBRFs; 20 breeds, including 2 known mixes, were identified. The study was conducted by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University; Sue Binder Consulting Inc, National Canine Research Council & Center for Shelter Dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Boston. Published in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association on December 15, 2013.

Sources: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Doggone Safe, Dr. Sophia Yin,For the Love of a Dog, Dogster, Yaletown Dog Training, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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