The second week in April is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Throughout the week, many organizations that work with dogs hope to help raise awareness of how dog bites can be prevented, especially for young children.
The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated there were about 78 million dogs in the U.S., with at least a dog in 32 percent of U.S. households.
However, in 2018, about 4.5 million people reported dog bites. Most of those bites involved children under the age of 16.
Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control’s Holly Pasquinelli said the organization investigated about 700 dog bites in Allen County last year. She said, while children are at higher risk for dog bites, primarily because of their height, she noted that parents can teach children dog-friendly behaviors, that help keep everyone safe.
“We can show them the right way to interact with a dog,” Pasquinelli said, “We don’t go screaming and yelling and get all excited when we see a dog. We don’t immediately grab it’s face. If we don’t do that stuff our kids won’t.”
Pasquinelli says when every incident involving a reported dog bite is handled individually.
She said last year’s Dog Bite Prevention Week focused on outreach to school children on how to approach dogs, she said social media will play a big role this year in distributing information to residents.
Pasquinelli said the Dog Bite Prevention Week outreach program reached about 2,000 school kids last year, and said she’s hopeful about how far the message can get this year.