Dog bites can be prevented

17 years ago
By Christine Cowett Robinson
Special to The Star-Herald

    Appropriation contracts will be mailed this week. If your town does not receive a contract, please contact the Central Aroostook Humane Society ASAP. What are appropriations? They are a fee we charge each town to guarantee we will take stray animals. That is part of what your taxes pay for. We provide the animal control agent with a key to a holding room in which strays can be safely deposited, even after business hours. It is amazing that our staff can leave work at 4 p.m. and have an empty room, return the next morning to not one empty cage. If you have lost your pet, the first place you should check is with the Central Aroostook Humane Society. That is why we are here. If you have found a pet, please call your animal control agent or police department. 

Dog bite facts:
• Approximately 20 people die each year in the United States as a result of dog attacks;
• Children are more likely to be bitten than any other segment of the population;
• More than 40 percent of severe bite victims are children under age 11;
• More than half of all children will be victims of a dog bite by the time they reach age 12;
• Annually an estimated five million dog bites occur nationwide, with approximately 400,000 bites occurring in Texas; and
• Dog bites cost insurance companies $250 million a year in medical and liability costs, accounting for one-third of all liability claims against homeowners’ policies.
    It is important to teach our children that all dogs ‘can’ bite, not all dogs ‘will bite.’ We need to be the ones to keep our children safe; set the example and teach them or they could become another statistic.
Tips to help prevent bites:
• Never approach a dog without letting it see and smell you first;
• Slowly extend your relaxed, closed hand (not clenched fist) for the dog to sniff and watch how the dog responds;
• Even if the person with the dog says it’s okay, you always need to ask the dog;
• After you see that the dog wants to be pet (remember dog body language), then gently stroke the dog under the chin and on the side of the face;
• Never make your first stroke on the top of the head; and
• Never touch a dog from behind, you may startle him – even your own dog.
    If a stray dog approaches:
• Make believe you’re a tree and don’t move;
• Never run – even if the dog is jumping and barking at you. Remember dogs like to chase moving things;
• Don’t scream – even if the dog is jumping and barking at you. Dogs have sensitive hearing and this could get them excited or scared;
• Don’t stare into the dog’s eyes. In dog body language, this could be like asking a dog to fight. Instead, look at the dog’s tail so you can still see what she is doing. Keep your eyes cast down and take quick, short glances at the dog;
• Back away slowly, one step at a time, until you reach safety;
• Even if a dog is injured, don’t try to touch him – an injured dog is scared and in pain and is more likely to bite you; and
• You can help a stray or injured dog by getting an adult that you know and trust and together you can call you local animal shelter or humane society for help.
    Nobody wants their dog labeled as a ‘biter’ and no one wants their child bitten, so spread the word, teach you children to be safe and teach your dog to be a good citizen.  
    If you are looking for a “friend for life” please visit the Central Aroostook Humane Society.  Business hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or give us a call at 764-3441.
    Please have your pets spayed or neutered.


ImagePhoto courtesy of Christine Robinson
    BILL URBAN and Karen Carmichael work hard to wipe cars dry after being washed during the animal shelter’s car wash held recently in Presque Isle.


ImagePhoto courtesy of Christine Robinson
    EVAN HOWLETT stopped traffic with his winning smile during the recent car wash benefiting the Central Aroostook Humane Society.


ImagePhoto courtesy of Christine Robinson
    JEANETTE HALLETT, loyal and dependable volunteer “busts a move” at the Central Aroostook Humane Society car wash.


ImagePhoto courtesy of Christine Robinson
    MEGAN ROBINSON walks her dog Zoe, one of several who showed support of the Central Aroostook Humane Society during  the Westfield Jubilee Parade.