WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2014 — Every year more than 4.5 million Americans, more than half of them children, are bitten by dogs. As part of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 18-24, 2014) Coalition, American Humane Association, the nation's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting the welfare of animals and children, encourages adults to teach children how to avoid dog bites and learn the importance of pet owner responsibility.
"For thousands of years, dogs have been our best friends, providing love, comfort and protection," says Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "In turn, we must be their best friends and protect all those around us — ourselves, our children, and our dogs — from the dangers and consequences of dog bites through good prevention strategies."
"The majority of emergency room treatments for dog bites involve children," says Justin Scally, national director of humane intervention for American Humane Association. "Studies have also shown that the greatest percentage of dog-bite fatalities occurred among children and unsupervised newborns."
Dogs can bite for many reasons, including improper care and/or a lack of socialization. All dogs, even well trained gentle dogs, are capable of biting however when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Thus, even when a bite is superficial or classified as "provoked," dogs may be abandoned or euthanized. Therefore, it's vitally important to keep both children and dogs safe by preventing dog bites wherever possible.
To reduce the number of injuries to people and the risk of relinquishment of dogs that bite, American Humane Association offers the following suggestions:
For Dog Owners:
American Humane Association also offers a free online booklet available for families with children called "Pet Meets Baby," providing valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a pet — or a new pet into a home with a child: http://www.americanhumane.org/interaction/programs/humane-education/pet-meets-baby.html.
Consider these alarming statistics provided by National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition members:
About American Humane Association
American Humane Association is the country's first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Since 1877, American Humane Association has been at the forefront of virtually every major advance in protecting our most vulnerable from cruelty, abuse and neglect. Today we're also leading the way in understanding the human-animal bond and its role in therapy, medicine and society. American Humane Association reaches millions of people every day through groundbreaking research, education, training and services that span a wide network of organizations, agencies and businesses. You can help make a difference, too. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org today.