Pet Talk (week of June 20, 2018)

My day job is a postmaster and part of my job is to make sure my coworkers stay safe. Every spring the postal service does a campaign on “Dog Bite Prevention.” This time of the year people are out with their dogs and dog bites increase. I’d like to give you some info that will help prevent dog bites in your area. We also want to protect the public coming to the shelter from dog bites.

More than 4.5 million are attacked annually. Children are 900 times more likely to be bitten than letter carriers. Dog attacks are the most commonly reported childhood public health problem in the United States. Letter carrier are also common victims with 3000 osha recordable injuries per year. Please caution your children to ask permission before approaching a dog.

Some dogs are not around children and react badly to them. Our managers recently went to a local school to educate on safety. Their question to the children was, “ Have you been bitten?” They said many raised their hand. These bites are very preventable. Please educate children, grandchildren and young neighbors to these facts.

To avoid being bitten: Don’t run past a dog. The dogs natural instinct is to chase and catch prey. If a dog threatens you don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t approach a stray dog, especially one that is tethered or confined. If you believe a dog is about to bite you try to place something between you and the dog such as a backpack or bicycle.

If you are a dog owner please consider obedience training and spaying or neutering. Both have shown to help curb dog bites. Dogs that are not properly socialized or left tied up for long periods are frequent biters. When your letter carrier comes to your home keep dog inside and in another room if you have to open door. If your dog is outside please do not ask your mail carrier to hand you your mail. Also, do not allow children to take mail in sight of the dog. The mail carrier could be considered a threat to your dog.

My husband is a mail carrier and was bitten by a dog that was very friendly. The dog was sleeping in the yard and my husband inadvertently startled him. It was a nasty bite and my husband was out of work for a while.  Please do what you can to keep your carriers safe.

Kelly Voigt was bitten by a dog when she was seven, resulting in over 100 stitches. She also experienced post traumatic stress and depression. She, along with others started a program on how to avoid brutal attacks.

Her program uses the acronym WAIT — which stands for W-wait to see if dog looks friendly. If dog looks afraid or angry, stop, and walk away slowly; A-ask the owner for permission to pet the dog. If owner says no, stop and walk away slowly. I-Invite the dog to come to sniff you. If the dog does not come to sniff you, stop and walk away slowly and T-Touch. If you do touch the animal pet the dog gently and stay away from head or tail.

When you come to shelter please be mindful that some of our animals have come from difficult situations and may not have had obedience training or been socialized. We ask that you check with staff before approaching or petting these dogs. Some of these dogs are a work in progress and are working on manners and training. If you are looking for a pet please stop in and see our adoptables. The staff are very knowledgeable and can help you pick out the pet that will be the best for you!

Reminder to keep checking in at shelter. If we don’t have what you are looking for it may arrive soon. We will soon have kittens up for adoption. We’ve got lovable cats! I’ll try and get pics soon. Happy Summer everyone!

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