Campaign to reduce animal bites

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is concerned about the number of animal bite/scratch incidents in their region. In each of the last three years, the HKPR DHU has investigated more than 600 animal bite/scratch incidents and this is “worrying given the rabies-exposure risk, the trauma suffered by the victim, and the fact that most of these bites involve pets or domestic animals.”  The idea of the campaign is to ask dog owners (and other pet owners) to use “a yellow ribbon (or bandana, bow or similar marker) tied on a dog’s leash or collar to remind people to give the animal space.”  So if you see a pet with a yellow ribbon – give it space!  It might bite.

In announcing the campaign, which is part of the Health Unit’s Caution: I Might Bite awareness campaign, Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Health Protection with the HKPR District Health Unit said:  “Our new campaign highlights yellow as the colour of caution, which identifies when dogs need their space and reduces potential bites or scratches if someone gets too close. Simply put: see yellow on a pet, give the animal space!”

Yellow Ribbon
Yellow Ribbon

Further, the Health Unit’s Caution: I Might Bite campaign builds on an international movement known as the ‘Yellow Dog Project’ that encourages people to use yellow to show dogs need space. By tying a yellow ribbon or something similar to a dog’s leash or collar, pet owners are stating the animal needs space for various reasons. This could include age, health issues (including recovering from surgery), nervousness, aggression or training.

Ovcharovich encourages families, especially children, to realize what the yellow ribbon or marker means and give the animal space. It’s best not to approach or try petting the animal without the owner’s full attention and direction, he adds.

The campaign will target schools – especially up to grade 6 – and local social media.

And if someone is bitten by an animal, Ovcharovich encourages individuals to get the pet owner’s contact information. If possible, take a picture of the animal or remember specific features (like markings, collar with tags). This assists the Health Unit in its follow-up investigation to ensure the correct animal is identified. The Health Unit must be notified any time an animal bites or scratches a person (Call 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006).


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Beach walker
24 May 2022 9:50 am

I have a dog with high anxiety, caused by cruelty inflicted on him by humans. I take him out in public to help him overcome his anxiety. He is leashed when people are around. The number of folk who want to touch him, pet him or have him approach their outstretched hand is unbelievable. If it’s not your dog then do not touch! It was humans who hurt him so he is not going to trust you.

Cobourg taxpayer
17 May 2022 7:12 pm

I’d like to know how many bite/scratch incidents occur when dogs are off leash. Dogs are supposed to be leashed in public areas such as Donegan Park and Northumberland Forest and through personal observation at least 50% are running free. There is no consideration for other users.

17 May 2022 5:08 pm

My husband was riding his bike on Harwood road, three dogs ran out, surrounded him, the lady said don’t worry there gentle, they won’t bite, just as one wrapped her mouth again his calf, didn’t break skin, but blood blisters and teeth marks, her response that’s how she says hello. What’s happened to control of your dog, common sense does happen to many anymore.

17 May 2022 12:31 pm

I’m assuming these ribbons on pets are in lieu of simply having common sense? What ever happened to keep your hands to yourself and teaching our kids manners? I get the good intentions of the campaign, I just miss common sense.

Reply to  Ryan
17 May 2022 2:58 pm

It’s not just kids, when my neighbour moved in, she introduced her dog to mine, large versus small. “Oh, he’s ok, wouldn’t hurt a fly”, she said. In a matter of 10 seconds my dogs head was in her dogs mouth. Punctured his jaw. You cannot tell what any animal will do. Good on whomever thought up such an easy campaign.

Reply to  Tucker
19 May 2022 10:13 am

My question is, will these same owners that say their dog is so wonderful have the common sense to put a yellow collar on their dog?

Maybe if they further the campaign to include a number for people to call to report such dogs and their owners and the HKPR tell these people to put a yellow collar on them or get fined.

Reply to  Ryan
17 May 2022 5:19 pm

Those ribbons on “pets” are in lieu of simply having the common sense to teach your dog that it is not at liberty to snap at, snarl at and/or bite anyone that it encounters in public.

Haul the cur up on a very short leash and give it a smack with a rolled up newspaper or even a hand to get the message across that such anti-social behaviour is not appropriate and will not be tolerated.

If you don’t know how to teach your dog polite behaviour, then you probably shouldn’t have a dog at all.

Last edited 6 months ago by JimT
Reply to  JimT
18 May 2022 8:50 am

Your solution is not humane. The person that should not have had a dog was the person I saw behind the car rental by No Frills, pulling the little dog up by the leash about 4 ft. in the air and dropping it on the ground. When I approached him, he ran, the police could not find him. What happened to that dog was not a “teaching ” moment but just plain cruel. An animal gets a lot of his “polite behaviour” from the owner.

Old Sailor
16 May 2022 2:00 pm

Maybe we should have a “ Caution: I Might Bite ” yellow neck tag for the radicalized protesters in front of Victoria Hall. Make the neck tag compulsory if they stay more than one hour or are spotted chewing on bones.