This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Peoria County Animal Protection Services (PCAPS) is urging parents and children to be proactive to prevent bites – many of them affecting young children and involved dogs known to the victim.
PCAPS Director Lauren Malmberg says her agency investigates more than 400 animal bites each year with many serious injuries affecting area families.
Malmberg tells 1470 & 100.3 WMBD there is one rule of thumb to remember.
“Not every dog is friendly,” says Malmberg, “especially if the dog is out roaming and free and the owner is not there, you really shouldn’t approach it.”
Malmberg says it’s a good idea to never approach or pet a dog without the owner’s permission.
Parents should also monitor their children around dogs, “Especially our own,” Malmberg cautions. “Because, given the wrong circumstances any dog can bite.”
Many bites and attacks can be prevented, Malmberg says, by responsible pet ownership.
“Make sure (the dog) is restrained to your own property and under control at all times. You also want to make sure it has a current vaccination and a rabies tag.”
PCAPS also encourages all pet owners to:
Spay or neuter your dog.
Train and socialize your dog.
Report free-roaming dogs to PCAPS immediately.
As part of an effort to educate children about basic safety around dogs, Malmberg says, PCAPS and the Peoria Humane Society offer presentations on dog bite prevention and safety around animals. Presentations can be tailored for any venue and are suitable for all ages. Presenters offer ideas for teaching children to be safe around dogs, tips on preventing a dog bite and how to respond if a dog bites or attacks someone in your neighborhood.
For more information, or to schedule a safety presentation, call Peoria County Animal Protection Services at 672-2440.