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Staying Safe from Dog Bites

Staying Safe from Dog Bites

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Nadine Wimmer ReportingPolice, animal control officers and State Health Officials all agree we're seeing a lot of dog bites lately, some of them serious. For about a month now, night after night, we've been hearing calls on dog bites, so we went out on them, know what you should do to help your family Stay Safe.

The blood on the woman's leg showed what happened when the neighbor dog got out.

Robert Linton, Salt Lake City Police Dept: “There’s a pretty good bit on the upper left thigh that will probably need some medical attention.”

Within days four dogs got out and attacked the boy next door in his own yard. The boy was locking up his bike in a grocery store parking lot when a dog attacked him.

Harrison Mills: “He just jumped up and bit me and laid back down.”

Another woman lost a toe kicking apart a dog fight. And a kindergartner got a giant get well card from her class after she was bitten by a neighbor dog.

Michelle Rudd, Mother: “She came home with her hand over her eye and blood was coming out everywhere.”

Animal experts say part of the problem is the season.

Temma Martin, S.L. County Animal Services: “Especially in the spring time we see a huge increase in dog bites because of the hormones, female dogs in season make male dogs more aggressive.”

State health numbers show dog bites injure thousands of Utahns, mostly children. Each year, 2,000 people are bitten by dogs. That's five every day, serious enough to go the emergency room.

Dr. Lisa Guenther, Primary Children's Medical Center: “Children, toddlers and infants are most at risk for dog bites to their face, to their scalp, to their chest, and upper shoulder areas. And those are the most serious injuries we see.”

As an adult it's hard to appreciate the trauma of a dog bite, until you put yourself at the height of a toddler--face to face with a dog, and injuries that can be disfiguring.

Officer Linton: “I’m not sure what the answer is, but people are responsible for their pets and they need to keep control of them.”

To Stay Safe make sure your own dogs are spayed or neutered, they're three times more likely to bite otherwise. If a dog does attack, "feed" them your backpack, jacket, purse or anything you have.

Safety Tips from Utah State Health Department:

--let dog sniff the back of your hand with fingers curled under
--don't bother dogs that are eating, sleeping or nursing puppies
--Don't run past a dog, their instinct is to chase
--Don't stare at a dog, considered an attack.

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