WEDNESDAY, APR. 27: SPCA staff will visit primary schools across the island to teach children how to avoid being bitten by dogs.

The announcement comes after an eight-year-old was attacked and injured by a pit bull at the weekend in St. George’s.

Roma Hayward, the SPCA’s education officer, told the Bermuda Sun she wanted to help young people understand how to treat dogs and what to do if a dog confronted them.

She said: “The programme is about raising awareness and reducing the number of children who are bitten by dogs every year.

“Having been in to classes in Bermuda I would say that 30 to 50 per cent of children have been bitten by a dog at some time in their life — and it is often their own dog.

“I would say there is definitely a need for education.

“People and children especially need to know and understand the language that an animal exhibits.

Confrontation

“It’s important they know how to act if they are confronted by a dog and know what to look for in the way the animal behaves.”

On Monday Gary Blackwell appeared in Magistrates’ Court in connection with the weekend’s dog attack.

He pleaded guilty to keeping a male pit bull that caused injury and to owning three pit bulls without a licence. Mr. Blackwell told the court he kept the dogs for protection.

He added: “I just wanted to say to the court I’m more concerned with the child than my dog.

“It’s unfortunate that the kids were in my yard when I opened my door.”

All three dogs were seized by dog wardens.

Mr. Blackwell was released on bail and will be sentenced on May 9.

SPCA staff, who are partnering with the Doggone Safe non-profit organization for the dog bite prevention project, will be visiting schools from May 15.

For more information contact Ms Hayward at the SPCA shelter on 236-6185.