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Animal Bites Raise Animal Shelter Populations

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With the warm weather and kids out for summer break, there's plenty of potential for animal bites and injuries.

If an animal attacks, a pet owner may give up their animal to a humane society.

But shelters in the Shoals are already crowded and shelter officials urge other options, before turning in a pet.

It may be first instinct to reach down and pet a puppy.

“You never, ever go to a dog and just try to grab them or Pat them on the head,” said Debbie Rappuhn with the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter.

That's because, no matter what size the animal, a bite can do a lot of damage.

“If it`s a responsible pet owner they have trained their dogs not to do that, not to bite.  That`s just not acceptable,” said Rappuhn. 

A bite can do a lot of damage to a person and also to an animal shelter's bottom line.

“Then they get dropped here for that reason and we see it of course as soon as it happens, and we work with them, it`s very workable and people just don`t want to take the time to do it,” said Rappuhn.

With unwanted dogs and cats coming in daily at the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter, it's already a struggle to find homes for the animals.  However shelter officials say with the right kind of training, even an aggressive animal can make a good pet, and that there’s no reason to drop off an animal only because it bit someone.

Shelter officials say if you must approach a dog, make sure to stay calm, and to gently reach your hand out to the animal.

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