May 13, 2004, VANCOUVER – May 16-22 is “National Dog Bite Prevention Week” and The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) is asking parents, educators and politicians to protect people from being bitten by dogs.

 

“While the vast majority of dogs are friendly and have a positive impact on their families and communities, there are a few canines who are dangerous and who shed a negative light on the important canine/human bond,” says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director.

 

“And while there will always be some dogs who bite in certain situations, many things can be done to ensure the number of aggressive dogs are significantly reduced, more dogs are properly socialized and people, especially children, are taught how to prevent becoming victims of dog bites,” suggests Hickey.

Last year The Humane Society of Canada conducted a national campaign aimed at educating adults and children about how they can prevent being the victim of a dog bite.

“The campaign featured advertisements by the award-winning ad agency TAXI that were placed in transit shelters, magazines and newspapers across Canada,” states Michael O’Sullivan, HSC Executive Director. “And while these ads were very important, much more needs to be done by the various levels of government as well as schools, breeders and parents.”

O’Sullivan agrees with Hickey that the vast majority of dogs are good and that only a small minority are aggressive. O’Sullivan is also disgusted with most municipal governments’ ineffective attempts at trying to fix the problem with as little thought and work as possible by limiting families to only a dog or two and even banning certain breeds.

“Banning certain breeds is not only unfair, but it does not solve the problem of dog bites,” says an angry O’Sullivan. “Allowing only one or two dogs to a home is also unfair and doesn’t address the problem of aggressive dogs and irresponsible dog owners. If municipalities wanted to effectively deal with preventing or minimizing dog bites they would provide incentives for responsibly raising canine companions. Some incentives could include significantly reduced license fees for dogs who are spayed or neutered, equipped with effective identification and who have passed a recognized dog obedience program.”

O’Sullivan believes that other levels of government could help by only allowing qualified, licensed breeders to breed dogs.

“Some people intentionally breed aggressive dogs while others do so unintentionally because they are not educated in this field,” says O’Sullivan. “Large, aggressive dogs can be as deadly as a gun and the fact that anyone can breed dogs is ridiculous.”

The Humane Society of Canada would like to see all levels of governments be more responsible in ensuring that dog bites are reduced. As well, parents, teachers and other educators need to do more to educate children about dogs and how to prevent being bitten or attacked. The HSC website located at www.humanesociety.com contains considerable information pertaining to dog bite prevention awareness including streetproofing tips for parents, tips for dog owners and tips for children.

3 Ways to Help Reduce Dog Bites

  1. Municipal governments should provide incentives for responsibly raising, training and socializing dogs. Greatly reduced dog license fees for training, spay/neutering and providing effective ID for dogs could easily be done and would be effective immediately.
  2. People should have to pass courses in canine behaviour and breeding before being allowed to breed dogs.
  3. Parents, teachers and other educators should educate children about aggressive dogs and how to avoid being bitten.

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280

[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.

A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]

The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.

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