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Dogs take safety message to kids

Roy and owner Gail Mackney, of Nashua, are congratulated on passing the suitability test for the school program by Responsible Pet Ownership Education Program testers Jenny Ralph and Lea Cogley.
Roy and owner Gail Mackney, of Nashua, are congratulated on passing the suitability test for the school program by Responsible Pet Ownership Education Program testers Jenny Ralph and Lea Cogley.

A NEW program aimed at reducing the number of dog attacks on children will be rolled out in schools throughout NSW over the coming months.

Rob Morrice, who has been involved with the Responsible Pet Ownership Education Program since its inception in Victoria more than 10 years ago, said it had been very successful.

“We want to teach kids how to interact with dogs,” he said.

“We are particularly targeting students in kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2, because that’s the age when kids seem to get attacked.”

At the Alstonville Showgrounds last week, dog owners brought their dogs along to be tested for involvement in the program.

Mr Morrice said they had found some “fantastic candidates”.

“We were looking for happy, bright and well-behaved dogs that will enjoy the school visits and be very safe near children,” he said.

“Our pet educators take the suitability-tested dogs to the schools and show kids how to approach dogs.

“Research indicates 80% of children involved in dog attacks are attacked by their own dogs or dogs they know.

“So this kind of information is very important.”

Songs, role plays and stories help convey the messages of responsible pet ownership.

The program also provides curriculum and resource packages to the school, including picture story books, multimedia activities and teaching notes, all free of charge.

Mr Morrice said they would start visiting schools on the Northern Rivers within the next month or so.

Schools can register for the visits at www.pets.nsw.gov.au.


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