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Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's National Dog Bite Prevention Week ... Who Knew?

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Don't make eye contact!
  • Don't make eye contact!

For as much bad press as dog bites get, you would have thought this week there would have been a media blitz, considering it's National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

But not even our very own Rebecca Katz, chief of the city's Animal Care and Control Department, had any idea that dog biting education gets its own week. After admitting that, she quickly followed up by saying: "Well every day is dog bite prevention day here."

Nice save.

Still we thought since there was Domestic Violence Week, National Groundwater Awareness Week, and even National Pancake Week we'd take a little time out to spotlight dog bites in San Francisco.

According to Katz, dog bites are indeed up in San Francisco, which probably doesn't help the off leash advocates with their current cause. Over the last two years, there were 766 reported bites. That included 71 single nips,  441 single bites, and 22 maulings, according to Katz.

In the two years prior to that, there were 543 dog bites in San Francisco.

Katz attributed the large spike in bites to a more efficient and accurate reporting system citywide. Ever since the tragic mauling of Diane Whipple in 2001, the city has worked proactively to make sure these kind of situations are, well nipped in the bud.

"We have a good system in place," she says. "We are on patrol 24/7."

The American Veterinary Medical Association gives some tips on how to void getting bitten by a dog.

1. Don't approach a tethered or confined dog.

2. Dogs like to chase, so don't run past a dog you don't know.

3. If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Avoid eye contact and back away slowly.

4. Spay and neuter your dog.

5. Most importantly, pay attention to your dog. Pups that are ignored or tied up for most of the day tend to turn into biters.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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