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FWACC gives tips on how to prevent dog bites

(Photo Supplied/Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – It is National Dog Bit Prevention Week and the Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control is giving out some tips to prevent dog bites.

In 2018, more than 700 bites to humans were reported to Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.  The bites that were reported were 75% adults and 20% children.  Also, a majority of the bites reported were from dogs that the victims owned or were familiar with.

FWACC indicates that education is step one of preventing bites.  The Humane Education Department of FWACC teaches bite prevention and pet safety year round with a focus on children.  More than 2,000 children were taught by the department in 2018.

Holly Pasquinelli, shelter spokesperson says “It’s Important to understand that dogs don’t but out of the blue,” and that ” 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.”

FWACC will be sharing bite prevention techniques and information on how to read dog body language throughout the week on its Facebook page.

Tips on 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.  Stand still if a dog approaches to sniff you. In most cases, the dog will go away when they figure out that you are not a threat.
  • Ask permission before petting someone else’s dog.
  • Don’t run past dogs as they love to chase and catch things.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is caring for puppies, eating or sleeping.
  • Remain calm if you are threatened by a dog. Do not scream or yell. Speak calmly and firmly if you need to talk. Avoid eye contact. Stay still until the dog leaves or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Do not turn and run.
  • If you are knocked to the ground or if you fall, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck and protect your face.

How to prevent your dog from biting:

  • Handle your pet gently and treat them with respect.
  • Do not put your dog into a position where they might be scared.
  • Socialize your dog so they feel comfortable around people and other animals.  Gradually increase exposure to multiple situations under controlled circumstances and do that on a regular basis.
  • Attend a dog training class.  Teach them basic manners such as, sit, stay, off and come.  This will help build trust and a bond with your dog through obedience and you can make it fun.
  • Avoid aggressive games like wrestling and tug-of-war.
  • Always use a leash on your dog when in public to ensure you can control them.
  • Make sure to keep your dog healthy with yearly checkups and vaccinations.  The way a dogs feels can directly affect their behavior
  • Spay or neuter your pets as this can make them less likely to bite.
  • Do not chain your dog.  This can increase aggression in dogs.

It is important to take responsibility for your dog’s actions if your dog bites someone. Even if it is for a good reason.

Indiana law requires that a biting animal be placed in a ten day rabies quarantine even if they are vaccinated.

Many people are afraid to report a bites because they are afraid of the outcome.  When a report is filed, FWACC will determine the severity of the bite, where the bite occurred (home or somewhere else) and how many times the animal bit.   Those factors will help determine whether or not the animal will be placed in the home or quarantined at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control.  FWACC does not automatically put down a biting animal.

What to do if your dog bites someone:

  • Confine your dog and take them away from the scene of the bite.
  • Check on the victim’s condition.  Wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention.
  • Report the bite.  Call FWACC inside the city and the sheriff’s department in the county.
  • Ask your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior to help prevent problems in the future.
  • If someone else’s dog bites you, seek medical treatment and call authorities and let them know everything you know about the dog to help animal control officers locate it.

Dog owners can reduce bite injuries and enhance their relationships with their dogs by acting responsibly.  Visit fwacc.org for more information about bite prevention programs at the shelter and educational materials.


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