W-A-S-P Can Help

You Not Get Bitten

* When you think of a dog, you probably don't think about being bitten.

Many dogs make wonderful pets, but last year nearly 5 million Americans were attacked by dogs. Almost 3 million of those people were kids.

This week has been declared National Dog Bite Prevention Week by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the U.S. Postal Service. (About 3,400 mail carriers were bitten last year.)

There's a lot that you can do to make sure that you don't get bitten by a dog, and 12-year-old Kelly Voight has some good tips. The Illinois girl was 7 years old when she got bitten and badly hurt by a dog in her neighborhood. Kelly now wants to make sure other kids know how to act around dogs. (Only approach leashed dogs.) She came up with an acronym, WASP, to tell kids what to do when they meet a dog:

Wait and watch the dog to be sure it is not angry or afraid.

Ask the owner's permission to pet the animal.

Sniffing is how a dog gets comfortable. Let the dog sniff you.

Pet the dog in the direction of its fur.

Kelly says she wants to "help other kids so that they won't be victimized like I was."

Following simple tips, even around police dogs, will keep kids safer.