Yesterday I wrote about an unfortunate experience Freya and I had with a dog off the lead in our road, and a rather abusive owner. It made me realise how little I knew about where the law stands on safety, as well as how to protect my daughter if we should come across a dog which is out of control. We learnt how Section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act states it is an offence for a dog to be out of control in a public space, which means either the dog has injured a person or acted in a way which makes the person believe they might be injured. And that under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (2005) council authorities can ban dogs from certain areas and insist dogs are kept on a lead, our local authority insists owners put their dog on a lead on all public footpaths and highways.
This is good to know, but what can you do to protect your child when you are in the situation? That’s where the Kennel Club, an organisation dedicated to the welfare of dogs, comes in. They’ve developed a Safe and Sound Scheme packed full of information and advice to help children learn how to act around dogs and prevent an attack. There’s an online game which your little one can play where they are faced with different situations, each time they stay safe they receive a safety star. Also check out the 20 Paw Plan with tips like always asking the owner for permission before touching a dog, staying calm and quiet and avoiding sudden movements. And there’s advice for how to tackle a fear of dogs and how to act if a child is frightened. The club has also created teacher’s notes and advice for both parents and children here.
Having now checked it out myself, it really is a great resource which has made me feel much more clued up!