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Animal Control tips on preventing dog bites

The La Crosse County Vector Control reports that Wisconsin state law requires dogs that have bitten a person be quarantined for 10 days in order to check whether it shows signs of rabies, with harsh penalties facing those who fail to comply.

While such laws help reduce fatalities from dog attack, they do little to prevent the occurrence of dog bites. An animal control officer recently provided several tips that can help one significantly reduce the risk of being bitten by a dog.

The officer reports that one should not try to restrain or pet an unknown dog, as the animal may see this as a threatening action. If one owns a particularly aggressive dog, one should have the dog evaluated by a professional before the animal's behavior escalates. The officer also stresses that a dog should not be tethered when the owner is away for any significant length of time, as this causes the dog to become bored, nervous and anxious and might agitate any existing aggressive behavior. Similarly, individuals are encouraged to never startle or frighten a sleeping dog, as this may cause the dog to become panicked and instinctively attack.

In the event that a dog begins to chase after a person, the officer recommends the person stand still with one's arms flat against the sides. Raising the arms may threaten the dog, prompting it pounce or lunge at one's neck in order to protect itself. Likewise, one should avoid screaming, instead speaking in a deep, strong voice.

Anyone bitten by a dog should get immediate medical attention, of course. As dog-bite victims know, surgeries and therapy treatments can unfortunately be extremely expensive and painful.

Source: Times Herald-Record: "Shelter Tails: Tips to prevent dog bites" by Mary Esparra: May 12, 2011

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