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Animal Bites

Every year in the U.S., animals bite more than a million people, most of them children; seriously injure thousands of people; and kill about one hundred people. You can prevent many bites by knowing how to recognize the warning signs of an animal that is likely to bite. Dog and cat bites are the most common type of animal bites, and many can be avoided by paying attention to the pet’s behavior and actions.

Don’t approach a dog or cat that is eating, fighting or mating.

If you must break up a fight, use a water hose or blanket to separate the animals, not your body.

Don’t startle a sleeping pet.

Don’t leave small children alone or unsupervised with pets.

When a dog approaches in a threatening manner, stop walking and in a loud, firm voice command the dog to “go home” or “lay down”. Do not run, as this may trigger an instinctive chase reflex, especially in stock or hunting dogs. Back away from the dog, continuing to speak in a loud, firm voice, until you are in a safe area. If you are riding a bicycle, dismount and keep the bike between you and the dog.

If a dog bites you, even your own, consult with your doctor for wound care and call Animal Control at 963-1017. State law requires all dog bites to be reported to the proper authority. All other animal bites should be reported to Public Health at 962-8800.