VANCOUVER, May 17, 2002 - May 20th is the beginning of National Dog Bite Awareness Week. In May 2000 the Humane Society of Canada (HSC) launched the first ever National Dog Bite Awareness Week.


According to Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director, the aim of this week is to bring awareness to the issue of dog bites and to educate parents and other guardians about how they can help prevent their children from being bitten by dogs. Hickey, who was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA for more than 17 years and who has 6 grandchildren, says that more needs to be done to educate children about how to act around dogs.

"When a dog seriously bites a person it’s news. This attention needs to be translated into education through the media, schools and at home," says Hickey. One of the charity’s suggestions is that every time a dog bite takes place and is reported in the media that news reporters encourage people to prevent dog bites by sending them to The Humane Society of Canada’s website or providing their toll free 1-800-641-KIND. "This is just one more way we could prevent more tragedies from taking place," he said.

HSC Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan says that the Humane Society of Canada has taken the lead in this important issue by producing considerable dog bite prevention information. In 1999, O’Sullivan gave expert evidence at the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Courtney Trempe, an eight-year-old girl who was killed by a neighbour’s dog.

"By putting this valuable prevention information on our website we’re making it readily available to parents, teachers, the media and others who are in a position to educate children about how they can avoid being bitten by dogs. People can also contact us for information on our toll-free phone number".

O’Sullivan, a father with two small children and a houseful of dogs and cats, is quick to point out that most dogs are friendly and the dog-human relationship is a wonderful one that should be cherished and protected.

"Most of the more than six million dogs in Canada will never bite anyone. The object of National Dog Bite Awareness Week is to reduce dog bites through education and to promote the special bond that exists between dogs and humans. By protecting people from dog bites we’re also protecting our canine companions," says O’Sullivan.

The Humane Society of Canada’s Dog Bite Awareness Campaign calls for, among other things, a review of the effectiveness of existing civil and criminal laws in Canada and other countries and the establishment of a national agency to collect and analyze the reports of animal attacks, better understand why they occur and how they can be prevented. Information on the Humane Society of Canada’s website includes: The Problem, The Solution, Tips for Child Safety, Tips for Dog Owners and Tips for Parents. This information is available online on our Dog Bite Awareness Pages or by calling toll-free 1-800-641-KIND (5463).

CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at via twitter at and on Facebook at:

[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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