growlingdog2The number one way dog bites can be prevented? Spay and neuter! You might not be aware of what a huge connection there is between dog bites and unaltered pets, but statistics kept by Animal Control agencies across North America show that unaltered dogs are responsible for almost ALL of the dog bites which are recorded. Recently a sad story hit the newswires about two dogs that escaped from their yard, attacking three people.  Los Angeles Animal Control sent out a press release with some very simple, helpful tips for the right way to prevent dog bites, with a focus on what we can teach our children to be safe. We’ve included this information below. Please share these tips to help keep our communities – both pets and people – safe from unnecessary dog attacks.

“The Department of Animal Services Harbor District Animal Control Officers responded to a call about two large dogs that attacked and injured three adult victims who were transported via ambulance to St. Mary’s Medical Center. The injured were a 71 year old woman with multiple severe lacerations to her buttocks, back and both legs, a 63 year old man with multiple severe lacerations to his arms, legs, thighs and chest, and a 35 year old man with multiple severe lacerations to his legs and feet.

The two large dogs were unaltered and unlicensed and had escaped from their yard. Unaltered dogs are responsible for almost all of the dog bites which are recorded. Altered dogs are healthier, live longer and are much less likely to bite people or fight with other dogs.

If you feel you are in a dangerous situation, do not run screaming from the dog. The dog may instinctively give chase. Do not make direct or prolonged eye contact with the dog or hit the dog—a dog who feels threatened could perceive this as a challenge. If an unknown dog approaches you, stand very still. If a dog knocks you down, roll up into a ball and remain as still as possible.

Take time to teach your children some safety tips for behavior around dogs:

1. Teach your child not to run and scream around your dog or other dogs. This could be a signal for the dog to play a chase game. Most dogs enjoy a fast-paced game involving chasing, growling and tumbling with each other. Play for a dog may be too rough for a child.

2. Practice having your child act like a tree standing very still with arms by her side, not moving, or acting like a rock by curling up on the ground face down with hands over the ears. Ask your child to act like a tree or a rock if your dog or any dog seems to be trying to play too rough. This is the safest way to avert a potentially dangerous situation.

3. When you are out with a child and you see a dog on a leash on the street, model appropriate behavior for the youngster by asking if you can pet the dog before you go right up to the person. If the handler says that it is okay, ask if the dog likes children. If the dog does not like or know children, don’t try to get to know this dog.

By taking a careful and caring approach to training your child and your dog, you will teach your child to safely play with friendly dogs. Best of all, you will give the child the opportunity to experience unconditional love and acceptance at its finest.

And, if you have an unaltered and unlicensed dog, you may qualify for a voucher to get your pet altered for free or you can get a discount voucher from all six City Shelters if you are a Los Angeles City Resident. Having your dog altered and licensed is not only good for your pet, it’s also the law.”

If you don’t live in the City of Los Angeles, for low-cost or free pet spay neuter near you, contact SpayUSA