COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The warmth of summer invites people to get out and about to escape being cooped up from the wet spring and cold winter.

Of course, this also means dogs are outside and sometimes work themselves loose from backyards and leashes. The Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoptions Center suggests the following steps to avoid being bitten.

  • Never approach a dog you do not know
  • Assume any dog you don’t know may bite
  • Avoid direct eye contact with aggressive dogs
  • Never disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating or protecting puppies

Should a dog unknown to you approach, be sure to remain calm and do not yell or scream. Be still, almost in a frozen position. Running will invite the dog to chase you. Avoid eye contact with the dog and look away. Be patient until the animal loses interest and then slowly back away.

Sometimes the unexpected happens. Should a dog actually attack or bite you, try to use something to place between you and the dog. Anything will help, from a purse to a coat, and even an umbrella. Most importantly, try to keep upright on your feet. However, if you are knocked down, curl into a ball on your knees and utilize your arms to protect your face.

If you are attacked, once you are safe, report the encounter to Animal Care & Control at 614-525-3400. In the cities of Columbus and Worthington, call the Columbus Health Department at 614-645-6134. Anywhere else in Franklin County, call Franklin County Public Health at 614-525-3160.

Be sure to check out the FCDS website for adoptable dogs, as many of them are available for $18 if they have been at the shelter for more than 14 days.