With approximately 78 million dogs living in households in America, it is important to know how to handle pets and how to safely approach them.
The American Veterinary Medical Association works to spread dog safety awareness every year during the second week of April. Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control is participating by spreading the awareness locally through social media campaigns and discussions with kids and adults on how to approach an animal safely.
It’s especially important this year because, in 2018, Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control saw more than 700 bites reported in Allen County.
The shelter is working to educate the public on ways to prevent dog bites during national Dog Bite Prevention Week. Holly Pasquinelli with Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control said there are three important steps to take when approaching a dog.
“We ask, we let them smell our hands, and then we gently pet them, and then we walk away. We don’t just sit there and surround them and make them go through that for a long time when they don’t know us,” Pasquinelli said.
Pasquinelli also said we should never reach in to give a dog a hug. It is important to pet them on the back before making face to face contact.
“First we always let them smell our hands, we don’t immediately reach into their face,” Pasquinelli said. “We like to use the analogy with our kids and our adults that come through: would you like a stranger just to run up and start hugging you? Probably not, and it’s the same with our dogs. We need to respect their space.”
A dog owner knows their dog better than anyone, she said. It is important to ask the owner before petting a dog. They will let you know if you can pet the animal, or if the animal is too shy for strangers.
If a bite does happen, it is important that every bite, to an animal or human, is reported to Animal Care and Control so the dog can be quarantined for ten days, by Indiana state law.
For more information on Dog Bite Prevention week, or on how to report a bite, go to Animal Care and Control’s website here.
WANE 15 spoke with Alysa Monnier, who’s daughter was bit by their family pet. Over a year ago, the day after Christmas, the family’s dog was chewing a rawhide when Naomi reached for the dog. In the blink of an eye, the dog lunged toward the little girl, biting her face.
She says all this time later, you’d never be able to tell that now 2-year-old Naomi suffered a dog bite when she was 8-months-old, because of her love for dogs.
“We do have a dog now and Naomi amazingly loves dogs, kind of wish she was a little less loving of dogs but she is not afraid at all.” Monnier said.
Monnier says she actually wishes Naomi wasn’t such a dog lover, because it took more time for her, as a mother, to readjust to seeing her daughter around any dogs.
“I would say that you just always need to watch dogs, even dogs that you’ve had for years and you think nothing will ever happen like I know this dog, that was our situation, never would I have ever thought that would happen.” Monnier said.
The family had two dogs at the time of the innocedent. Although they had to get rid of the dog that bit their daughter, they still have their other family pet.