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  • Northside West

Survey finds parents leave their kids alone with dogs

Monday, 22nd May, 2017 2:00pm
Survey finds parents leave their kids alone with dogs

The Be Dog Smart campaign was launched at DCU.

Survey finds parents leave their kids alone with dogs

The Be Dog Smart campaign was launched at DCU.

A WORRYING new survey published last week by Finglas based Dogs Trust has found that 12 per cent of parents would leave a child aged five or younger alone with a dog.

The animal charity’s report also reveals that 40 per cent of parents would allow a child under 11 be alone with a dog, despite the risks.

Pulling tails, sitting, disturbing sleep and kissing a dog’s nose are just some of the antagonising ways children act around dogs, the survey discovered.

A quarter of Irish adults have let a child approach a dog they did not know and one in three parents have seen their child kiss a dog on the nose.

Dogs Trust is now urging parents to never leave a child alone with any dog as part of its new Be Dog Smart safety campaign, which was launched by model and TV presenter Glenda Gilson last week.

The survey did find that while 82 per cent of parents say they teach their child how to behave around a dog, over 96 per cent don’t know there are more than 21 signs that a dog may be feeling uncomfortable or stressed.

“With over 30 per cent of households owning a pet dog, it is likely that children will come into contact with dogs regularly,” said Suzie Carley, Executive Director of Dogs Trust.

“Being around dogs can have so many wonderful benefits but it is vital children learn how to approach and interact with a dog safely.”

Last year the Dogs Trust Education Team carried out over 1,800 workshops, teaching just over 56,000 children about responsible dog ownership.

This year, as part of the new Be Dog Smart campaign, the canine charity plans to increase this figure by 50 per cent.

“Our education and community officers will be delivering free Be Dog Smart Workshops, designed to keep children safe both at home and in the community in a variety of locations such as, libraries, community centres, antenatal classes and Montessori schools across the country,” added Carley.

“The interactive workshops will be aimed at anyone who has responsibility for children such as parents, teachers, grandparents, child-minders, foster carers as well as the children themselves.”

Education and Community Manager at Dogs Trust, Fiona Gregan, explains how the workshops can help.

“We wanted to keep the Be Dog Smart campaign message simple: Paws; Think; Stay Safe,” she said.

“The campaign uses a Be Dog Smart Safety Code which mirrors a traffic light system to teach adults and children how to stay safe with dogs. We hope that our guidance will become as much a part of a child’s education as road safety awareness.”

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here