After two young boys were injured last week in dog bites in McPherson, local officials are offering tips on how to prevent future incidents.
A 9-year-old boy from Wichita was bitten July 17 in the 400 block of South Tulip. The boy was taken by a private vehicle to a hospital in Wichita, where he was treated for the bite. Information on the nature of the injuries nor the breed of the dog were released by police.
A 9-year-old McPherson boy was bitten in the head by a dog about 11:45 a.m. Thursday in the 400 block of South Fisher, according to police.
The dog was a pet. Breed information was not available. Surgical glue was used to close the lacerations on the boy’s head, according to police.
There were no witnesses to the event, so the exact circumstances surrounding the bite are unknown. The dog is under quarantine to ensure it is healthy.
Sonia Luttig, director of the McPherson Animal Shelter, said two bites in a week is unusual for McPherson. Generally the city investigates several bites per year.
Dogs can bite for a variety of reasons. Heat during the summer months can further agitate pets, Luttig said.
Despite beliefs certain breeds are more dangerous than others, dog bites are not breed specific.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of dog or if it’s a puppy,” Luttig said. “Any dog can bite at any time. It depends on the situation.”
Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Almost one in five people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
Children are the most common victims of dog bites, and senior citizens are the second most common victims of bites.
How to prevent dog bites?
Never approach a stray dog. Call animal control, Luttig said. Animal control officers are trained to read dogs’ body language and how to apprehend the dogs safely.
Don’t approach a strange dog without first asking the dog’s owner. If an owner is walking the dog, the dog should be restrained on a leash per city ordinance.
Dogs not on a leash must be confined by a fence.
Luttig said problems occur when pet owners let unconfined dogs out to urinate. The dogs encounter passersby and sometimes chase them.
Luttig suggested if a pet owner is going to have company over or if service personnel, such as the cable repairman, is going to be in the house, it is a good idea to confine the dog temporarily.
Luttig talks to school children about interacting with dogs and tells them to not touch their face to a dog’s face and be careful where their hands are.
Page 2 of 2 - Children should always be supervised around pets, even those that are familiar to the family.
“They can snap on a dime,” Luttig said of dogs.
In addition, she urged pet owners to not eat around dogs or feed them from the table.
“You are setting the dog up to bite,” she said.
Luttig also strongly suggested obedience training. The Centers for Disease Control in its literature on dog bites urged pet owners to not play aggressive games with their dogs.
Spaying or neutering a dog often reduces aggressive tendencies, according to the CDC.
If you are bitten?
Call animal control to take a report.
The bite likely will need to be examined by a medical professional.
A report will be taken, and the dog will be quarantined for 10 days to ensure it does not have rabies or other illnesses.
The city has a vicious dog ordinance. If a dog bite is serious enough or a dog has bitten multiple times, it can be referred to a judge as a vicious dog. If the judge deems the dog vicious, the judge can order it be put down.
In addition, pet owners can be liable for costs associated with dog bite injuries.