LARGO - National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the third full week of May each year and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.
With an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year. In 2013, Pinellas County had approximately 1,360 dog bites. Any dog of any breed has the potential to bite. Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem.
Tips on how to prevent dog bites:
• Citizens are encouraged to work with their local animal shelter, rescue organization or reputable breeder to find breeds and dogs that are a good fit with their household.
• Dogs need to be spayed/neutered to reduce aggressive tendencies. Infants or young children should not be left alone with a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, it is best to wait before a new dog is brought into the household.
• Citizens are asked not to approach an unfamiliar dog. Stray or lost dogs are cautious around strangers and may run away, snarl or possibly attack if an individual gets too close.
• Citizens are asked to immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior. Pinellas County Animal Services accepts citizen concerns Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Citizens are asked to immediately seek professional advice (e.g., from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible trainers) if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.