Some 5 Million U.S. Dog Bites Preventable

CHICAGO, May 14 (UPI) — Half of all U.S. children will be bitten by a dog by the time they’re high school seniors, a pediatrician says.

Dr. Alison Tothy, chairwoman of the committee on injury and poison prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics Illinois chapter, said there is a national effort of her group, the U.S. Postal Service, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and several other groups to help prevent some of the 4.7 million Americans bitten by dogs annually.

Plastic surgeon Loren Schechter of Morton Grove, Ill., says more than 30,000 reconstructive procedures were performed last year, up 9 percent from 2008, because of dog bites.

Delores Killette of the U.S. Postal Service says given the right circumstances, any dog can bite.

“Working with animal behavior experts, we’ve developed tips to avoid dog attacks,” Killette says in a statement.

To prevent dog bites the Postal Service suggests:

– Don’t run past a dog, it will chase to catch prey.

– If a dog threatens, don’t scream, avoid eye contact, remain motionless until the dog leaves, back away from dog.

– Don’t approach a tethered or confined dog.

– If a dog is about to attack, try to place something between you and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.

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