Vikki Campion; From: The Daily Telegraph ; September 27, 2010
DOGS will be brought into NSW classrooms in the State Government’s bold bid to cut rising attacks on children.
Already dogs have claimed 2428 victims this year – nearly twice the number for the same six months in 2009.
A $2.1 million program, designed to slash children’s chances of being mauled, will be rolled out for students aged five to seven from next year.
Role play, computer games, and real dogs will help show pupils how to act near dogs.
“Bringing a well-supervised dog into the classroom will help reinforce the importance to students that they must always approach dogs in a safe way and show the animal respect,” Local Government Minister Barbara Perry said.
“The students will be taught about animal welfare, training, pet ownership, and how to choose an appropriate pet. They will learn what to do if they find themselves at threat of being attacked by a dog.”
University of New England Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour Professor Gisela Kaplan said it was not enough to show children how to approach dogs, urging owners to microchip and train them to be calm near strangers.
Dogs should also be allowed on buses, trains and in shops to stop them being cooped up alone in a backyard, she said.
“Australia is fast becoming the most dog-intolerant country in the world,” she said.
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