The International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge
Dog Bite Prevention Week is just around the corner — May 15-21, 2011 — and Doggone Safe is shooting for a Guinness World Record.
The non-profit, registered in Canada and the United States, has challenged its presenters around the world to educate 50,000 children about dog bite prevention. At the time of this writing they are off to a good start having already received pledges from six countries, 26 U.S. states, and six Canadian provinces. That’s 17,000 children, or roughly a third of their goal.
This is a laudable goal, since half of all children suffer dog bites, the majority of which are received from a dog that is known to them. This is where Doggone Safe’s “Be a Tree,” program comes in. Here is a description from the press release about it (via Stock Markets Review):
The “Be a Tree” program is a dog bite prevention presentation for school children. The program is delivered by Doggone Safe presenters, veterinary technicians, dog trainers, dog behaviorists, public health nurses, emergency medical services personnel, animal control officers, police officers, teachers and humane educators. Presenters use a teacher kit which contains large format photographs showing dog body language signs, games and activities. […] Over 500,000 children worldwide have experienced the Be a Tree presentation since 2004. Through the International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge, Doggone Safe aims to increase this by at least ten percent.
There are extensive resources on their website including educational programs, tips on what to do if your child is bitten by a dog, and much more. Just as with riding a motorcycle or driving a car, there are a lot of basic things one can do to reduce risk, some of them intuitive and some not. Just like any issue involving potential injury or liability, one should be informed.
Of course, it is not only children who have suffered dog bites, not by a long shot. Just take a look at the recent lawsuit against the City of Vancouver that was recently filed by Scott Phillipo. On October 3 of last year, Phillpo was stopped on suspicion of stealing a bicycle — a bicycle that turned out to be his. In the course of the encounter, he was bitten by the police dog, a situation his lawyers attribute to the police department’s “bite and hold” training for their dogs. Carlito Pablo, a writer for Straight.com, reports Phillipo’s perspective on the incident:
‘They tackled me off of the bike,’ he said of the officer and his dog. ‘The dog jumped up on me as I was falling off the bike. I was on the ground. The whole thing happened quite quickly. The police officer tackled me onto the ground, and then in an attempt to put me in his hold…he wasn’t able to keep the dog off of me.’
Dogs are all around us in our daily lives. There are more than 10 in my block alone, three of which outweigh me. It is only prudent, therefore, to educate ourselves and our children as best we can to avoid potential injury. This is especially true of dog owners, who not only have injury to worry about but also liability.
For those who wish to self-educate on this topic, I also recommend the Center for Disease Control’s article and podcast for Dog Bite Prevention Week.