Hundreds of thousands of children are sent to the hospital every year because of dog bites, but many of those incidents could have been avoided.
With their soft fur and adorable fluffy faces, it can take a lot of self control to keep from running up to every dog you see. For children, the impulse to pet and play with a dog can put them in dangerous situations.
Many dog bites and other pet-related injuries happen because kids don't know the proper way to behave around animals. The number of these injuries has steadily risen in California, and the Pasadena Humane Society has set out to do something about it.
Children from Franklin Elementary School visited PHS today for Be Kind to Animals Week and the launch of our Kids for...
The "Kids for Animals" program is designed to teach children how to safely interact with dogs and other kinds of animals. Julie Bank, CEO and president of the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA told ABC News:
"We really want to just kind of mobilize the community more, allow more kids to have the opportunity to get involved and to really try to see what kind of movement we can create."
The basis of the program is to teach kind interactions that benefit both the child and the animal. They focus on teaching children how dogs use their ears, mouths, and tails to tell people what they're thinking. The students are taught to recognize signs that a dog is feeling scared or uncomfortable.
By becoming fluent in dog body language, they learn how important it is to respect how a dog is feeling. Even dogs that would never purposefully hurt a person can react aggressively when they feel threatened or uncomfortable. It's a natural response by the animal, and children can protect themselves by learning to recognize it.
The program also teaches children essential rules that apply every time they meet a new animal. They're told to always ask before petting someone else's dog and to let the animal sniff their hands. From there, instructors warn children about the dangers of putting their fingers inside cages and being too excited around reactive dogs. The goal is to give the kids knowledge that could one day prevent a serious injury.
Pet-related injuries range from mild scratches and bruises, but they can also be fatal. The first step in preventing accidents is prioritizing safety. Kids for Animals is making a difference in California and leading the way for other animal advocacy organizations to make similar strides in animal safety.
Is teaching kids about animal safety important to you? Let us know in the comments.
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