FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - About 700 dog bites were reported to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control in 2018.
On National Dog Bite Awareness Week, Animal Care and Control wants people to know the warnings and consequences if your dog should bite, including a judge declaring your dog to be dangerous.
HOW TO AVOID BEING BITTEN BY A DOG
- Be cautious around dogs you don't know.
- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Avoid unfamiliar dogs. If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still like a tree. In most cases, the dog will go away when they determine you are not a threat.
- Don't pet a dog by reaching through a fence or into a car window.
- Always ask permission before petting someone's dog.
- Don't run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
- Never disturb a dog that's caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
- If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don't scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don't turn and run.
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.
PREVENT YOUR DOG FROM BITING
- Treat your own pets with respect and gentle handling.
- Don't force your dog into a situation that might scare them.
- Socialize your dog or young puppy, so they feel at ease around people and other animals. Gradually expose your dog to a variety of situations under controlled circumstances; continue that exposure on a regular basis.
- Don't allow your dog to be in places where they might feel threatened or be teased.
- Attend a dog training class. The basic manners "sit," "stay," "off," and "come" can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of obedience and trust between pets and people.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Always use a leash when in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog healthy with yearly vaccinations. How your dog feels directly affects how they behave.
- Spay or neuter your pet. Altered dogs are less likely to bite.
- Don't chain your dog. Chaining increases aggression in dogs.
Carolyn Latorrez's dog, Taz, was recently euthanized after it was deemed dangerous.
"He was my everything. He was my boy," she said.
The Belgian Malinois was declared dangerous after he got out of the apartment of Engle Road and bit a girl in the face. The girl was riding a bicycle.
"He doesn't for some reason like bicycles. And he thinks all of this territory is his," Latorrez said.
This wasn't the first incident involving Taz reported to Animal Care and Control in the last year.
Latorrez said he scratched the dog walker.
"If someone is at the door and he doesn't know who you are, he's going to assume here for no good," she said.
Animal Care and Control takes dangerous dog declarations very seriously.
Certain criteria has to be met before a judge can declare a dog dangerous, and each situation is looked at individually.
Director Amy-Jo sites tells me in the 16 years she's been here, only a handful of dogs have been deemed dangerous.
"Most of the time we can contain an animal that may have bitten while off property, or owners come to that conclusion themselves," said Sites.
Latorrez was one.
She was making arraignments for Taz to go to the Cincinnati Police Department.
"He deserved to be rehabilitated. He deserved to be trained in a way that helped him understand," said Latorrez.
Fort Wayne's ordinance requires Animal Care and Control to put the dog down.
"We are still a public safety agency so we still have to take into consideration that we knowingly placed a dangerous dog into somebody else's community," said Sites.
Latrorrez wishes Taz would've been given a second chance.
"He was super loving always wanted to be close to us would come up and lay on us," Latrorrez said.
You can learn more about the dangerous dog ordinance here.