Every year in the United States, animals bite nearly five million people, most of them children; seriously injure thousands of people; and kill about 100 people. You can prevent many bites by knowing how to recognize the warning signs of an animal that is likely to bite. You can also learn how to avoid situations that provoke bites and how to defend yourself if you are attacked.
The warning signs of a dog likely to attack will be an aggressive posture with the animal's hackles up, growling or barking, ears erect, body stiff or tense, stiff-legged stance with tail held high and possibly moving rapidly. The dog may also attack if afraid and will assume a fearful posture with ears back, body crouched, head held low, and tail tucked between his legs. Most animals' "warning signs" are similar to a dog's.
- Never touch or approach an animal you don't know to be friendly.
- Never threaten or tease any animal.
- Even a small dog or cat can inflict a painful bite.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal:
First, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water, then apply a sterile dressing. Seek immediate medical help. Ask the physician about a tetanus booster and/or rabies vaccination. Remember as many details as possible. Write down a description of the animal, time and location of the incident and try to remember where the dog went.
Downloadable matieral: "Don't Worry, They Won't Bite: How to keep people AND dogs safe" brochure or Dog Bite Prevention Coloring Book (large file)
Anchorage law requires that all animal bites be reported to the Animal Care & Control Center. Call 343-8119 to make a report. The animal will need to be quarantined for rabies observation.