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Program to educate children in Queensbury about aggressive dogs

2013-02-01T16:44:00Z Program to educate children in Queensbury about aggressive dogsDON LEHMAN -- Glens Falls Post-Star
February 01, 2013 4:44 pm  • 

QUEENSBURY -- In an eight-day span last summer, shortly after the school year ended, Queensbury Animal Control Officer Jim Fitzgerald handled 13 cases where people were bitten by dogs in Queensbury.

A number of the victims were children and, as he reviewed the circumstances of the bites, one thing became clear: Many of them did not know how to recognize signs that dogs were alarmed or preparing to be aggressive.

So when Fitzgerald had an opportunity to meet with Queensbury School Superintendent Doug Huntley last fall as the school campus dealt with myriad bear problems, Fitzgerald pitched an educational program through the school to try to cut down on dog bites.

With help from the town’s insurance broker, Marshall & Sterling Upstate Inc., which was looking for ways to cut down on insurance claims related to bites, Fitzgerald and school officials have put together an interactive school program that it is hoped will teach young children how to recognize signs that a dog may be dangerous.

Fitzgerald said the initial presentations will be about a half-hour and will involve the school’s 235 kindergarteners. There will be educational materials for kids to take home to their parents, he said.

“We’ll show them when to approach a dog and how to recognize signs that a dog is in distress,” Fitzgerald said. “If the ears go back, don’t go near them.”

Huntley said he believes the program will be beneficial, and the school may extend it to first-graders as well.

“I was surprised and alarmed by the statistics he (Fitzgerald) had,” Huntley said. “Based on that, we decided we wanted to do whatever we could to help.”

Queensbury Town Clerk Darlene Dougher, who oversees the animal control program, said the program will be a good one that she hopes can expand to cover other school districts that Queensbury children attend, such as Lake George and Glens Falls. She likened it to the fire safety programs that fire departments bring to schools each year.

Learning a few simple rules about dog behavior can help kids avoid trouble, Dougher said.

Huntley said the first presentation will be held May 20. Fitzgerald said he may try to incorporate his trained service dog into the presentation if school officials consent.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(10) Comments

  1. Ugh
    Report Abuse
    Ugh - February 06, 2013 5:33 am
    So far as our schools being behind in education world-wide, that is also true. One only needs to read comments on the Post Star to see that is true.
  2. Ugh
    Report Abuse
    Ugh - February 06, 2013 5:30 am
    Some people just get a kick out of trashing every single thing they see on the Post Star. This is a great idea and is sponsored by a private company. Many kids are not taught this at home. I hope they expand the program to other grades. This is no different than fire safety or drug education. Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald for identifying this gap and trying to make a difference. Any dog can bite, even the most docile dog will bite when over stressed. We teach that to our child. We also never never discipline our dog for growling or grumbling. We don't want to train him to not give a warning. Our dog is sweet and wonderful with kids. But any dog will bite in the wrong situation. Any dog.
  3. Key
    Report Abuse
    Key - February 05, 2013 9:17 pm
    If the program helps prevent dog bites than it is useful to children. Kids will try to pet the growling doggie, and don't know that the dog doesn't want to be petted; that is a major cause of dog bites. Children need to learn not to approach or touch any dog that is not known to them, especially when the dog's owner is not present. Loose dogs or dogs that are tied up on lawns, or in pens can become aggressive when touched by anyone that the dog is unfamilar with.
  4. informed01
    Report Abuse
    informed01 - February 04, 2013 3:50 pm
    It's sponsored by an insurance company
  5. informed01
    Report Abuse
    informed01 - February 04, 2013 3:45 pm
    I know Mr. Fitzgerald personally. All the training he does is volunteer. He is the one on the street seeing this first hand. You make comments that this is for his business, he doesn't own a business. Everything he does is volunteer. Scotty, did you ever call Mr. Fitzgerald, no, you just assumed. Just seeing this comment from you proves you have no basis behind what you say. Your comments are totally uncredible, almost laughable. You blew this out of proportion in your comments, take the time to call the official than just an assumption. (Lack of KNOWLEDGE in your comment)
  6. scottycc31
    Report Abuse
    scottycc31 - February 03, 2013 6:26 pm
    @ "please"..575 is the problem? It's reckless that you feel schools (with all they teach) take time away from their studies to attend this seminar which is something that CLEARLY/EASILY be taught at home. To me, seems like an "in" for Fitzgerald's dog training business advertised. Schools don't have the time for such a seminar. Schools don't teach EVERY aspect for kids. Cleary one that's taught at home.
    Sounds good in theory, hopefully the tax payers are not paying, one way or another. Kids need all the class time they can get. US is just the laughing stock of the world (all grade levels) as far as their overall (lack of) knowledge of their subjects. Many children can't even make $$ change even after High School without a computer/register. Many are on a below reading level of 4th grade. You seem like a "good feel" person, and I don't think you are looking at the BIG picture here. Hope you think a bit more about this more and REALLY BIG picture and think about it.
  7. please
    Report Abuse
    please - February 03, 2013 11:01 am
    575 you are the problem. Schools have a role in child safety. To complain about tax dollars going to help the well being of children is not only wrong it is reckless. Schools teach children about health and safety. Tax money pays adults to educate children, get over it. Pay your taxes and be glad you live in America. Good idea for a useful program Queensbury.
  8. scottycc31
    Report Abuse
    scottycc31 - February 03, 2013 1:28 am
    Totally agree with "5756917." Seems like the Gov't/local agencies in more ways than this, have to take the role/responsibilty of a parent/s.

    Sounds like the people teaching this course don't know much about dogs. Sounds more like they know more about horses......"when the ears go back, don't go near them."

    Many dog breeds have anywhere from pointy ears, to long floppy ears. Not a great "yardstick" to determine if a dog is "in distress." Many dogs with pointy (V-shaped) ears will have their ears forward in alert status....and not back.

    There is too much apathy these days and it seems that common sense is extinct.

    Whenever in doubt, with any animal..... don't approach and do not hang around to find out whether the animal is friendly or not........PERIOD.

  9. bodie
    Report Abuse
    bodie - February 02, 2013 10:01 am
    Yeap and will this be on state tests!!
  10. 5756917
    Report Abuse
    5756917 - February 01, 2013 10:49 pm
    For real???? We cant teach our children this at home? Taxpayer funds will surly have to pay for this. Disgraceful!


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