In light of National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 20-26), here are some tips for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from dog bites:

* Always spay or neuter your dogs. Unaltered dogs tend to be more territorial and more aggressive, which makes them three times more likely to bite.

* Never chain or cage dogs. Lack of socialization and the inability to escape perceived threats make chained dogs nearly three times more likely to attack than dogs who are not tethered.

* Report cruelty to animals immediately. People who use dogs to fight or as guard dogs often beat, starve and taunt dogs, which can make them aggressive and more prone to biting.

* Never leave animals and children unattended together. Both can be unpredictable, and even the most docile dog may bite if a child pulls the animal’s tail or startles the dog when it’s sleeping.

* Treat dogs as part of the family. Let them live indoors, where they can become socialized and learn how to interact with humans.

To learn more, visit

Lindsay Pollard-Post

The PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.

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