Awareness and responsibility can reduce the risk of dog bites
The City of Rochester is committed to reducing dog bites by promoting responsible pet ownership and providing information that can help residents and visitors avoid an encounter with a dangerous dog.
The City also maintains a Dangerous Dog Ordinance to regulate dog ownership and to hold dog owners responsible for unjustified harm or damage caused by their pets. The ordinance appropriately focuses on the behavior of the dog and all of the circumstances surrounding that behavior. Violations of this ordinance can result in the issuance of citations carrying financial penalties or in dangerous dog proceedings. Such City Court proceedings provide the court with a variety of dispositions from which the judge selects those that suit the needs of the particular case. Those dispositions include monetary penalty not to exceed $1,000; specific leash, muzzle, and confinement requirements; posting "Dangerous Dog on Premises" signs; obtaining liability insurance or surety bonds covering any damage or injury that may be caused by such dog; consultation with a behaviorist; obedience training; spaying or neutering; and microchipping. There is even a misdemeanor charge carrying a financial and/or imprisonment penalty for some cases involving physical injury. Humane euthanasia of the dog is the alternative disposition to a confinement order as outlined above. All dog owners are strongly encouraged to read the ordinance.
What can you do to prevent your dog from biting?
- Provide obedience training
- Socialize with other people and animals
- Provide proper food, water, shelter
- Provide exercise - a tired dog is a happy dog
- Play with your dog, but train the dog to release on command
- Provide attention and affection
- Obey leash laws
- Spay or neuter your dog
- Never leave child alone with dog
Why do dogs bite?
- Sick or injured
What do you do when you see a loose dog?
- Do not tease or taunt
- Inform an adult
- Call 911
What about leashed dogs?
- Do not approach unfamiliar dogs
- Do not assume dog is playful or friendly
- Do not extend open hand
- Allow wide berth when walking, bicycling, roller-blading by dog
- Owner may say “she doesn’t bite,” but all dogs can bite
Service visits/visiting a new an unfamiliar house or dwelling
- Announce arrival or call ahead if possible
- Look for signs of a dog (e.g., bowl, toys, etc)
- Jiggle fence
- If a dog is present, ensure it is secure before entering home
- Inquire about dog before entering home
Do’s and Don’ts when approached by unfamiliar dogs
- Stand still; Don’t run away; Walk slowly away from dog
- Avert your gaze; don’t look directly in eyes
- Use firm, confident commands
- Offer bag, purse, hat to dog instead of body
- Offer weak arm instead of dominant arm—do not pull away!
- If knocked over, assume fetal position on knees, cover your face and neck
- Do not play with dog unless supervised by adult
- Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or with pups
- If bitten, tell adult, wash with soap and water, seek medical attention (call 911 for emergencies, 311 for non-emergencies)
Female dog with puppies
- Do not attempt to pet mother dog with puppies
- Do not attempt to grab or pet puppies