Use caution to prevent dog bites

BY MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE INFORMATION SERVICES Published: May 31, 2009
Every year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fort Wayne, Ind., Animal Care and Control worker Peggy Bender said dog attacks are "prevented by dog owners using good judgment and proper confinement.”

To avoid dog bites:
→Never approach an unfamiliar dog.

→If you are approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain motionless until it leaves the area. Don’t scream or run from it.

→If a dog should attack, throw a purse, jacket, backpack or anything available that can come between you and it.

→If you are a dog owner, have your dog spayed or neutered, and take it to obedience classes. Avoid chaining your dog.

→If you see a loose dog, report it to your local animal control agency.

If you are bitten:
→Children should tell an adult right away.

→Wash the wound with soap and water; consult a doctor. Serious bites can cause permanent scarring, so ask for a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

→Report bites to your animal control agency. Give as much information on the animal as possible.