Deer Valley, AZ — As a judge decided yesterday whether Micky the pit bull may be euthanized, the state’s oldest and largest no-kill animal shelter offers advice on how to keep young children safe around dogs.

On Feb. 20, a young boy was bit in the face by the dog, who was chewing on a bone when the 4-year-old tried to take it away.

“Even very young children can learn how to respect a dog’s space and approach them safely,” says Michelle Ramos, Director of Education for the Arizona Animal Welfare League and Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AAWL & SPCA). “When a child is very outgoing, they forget that the animal may not want to be approached at certain times, and that it may react because it’s startled or protecting its food. The good news is, kids can learn the right way to interact with animals.”

A few important things to teach kids about interacting with animals include:

– Always supervise children around animals, even the family pet.
– Never surprise a dog who is eating or sleeping.
– Never take a toy away from a dog.
– Don’t allow children to approach or hug any dog that does not belong to them, unless they ask the dog’s owner for permission.