New program teaches kids how to protect against possible dog bites and attacks

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A local animal control officer noticed more kids were being bitten by dogs, so he came up with a solution that can help put a leash on the problem.

Todd Humiston admits he’s an animal lover. It’s why he adopted Molly, a rescue dog. But the animal control officer was receiving an alarming amount of calls about one specific issue.

“The amount of bites and kids being bit in the community,” he said.

In his first year on the job, he got about 100 of them.

“I’d say about half of them were children under the age of 10,” he said.

And that’s why he created a program to directly help with that.

“What we do is we go into the schools,” he said.

At first, Humiston would talk to just a small group of kids in his son’s class and teach important tips.

“How to interact with a dog; what to do if there is a loose dog.”

But the program took off. This past year, he spoke to over 500 kids at three separate school districts. On Friday, a few of those kids met NEWS10 ABC at a park in Hudson Falls to show what they learned.

Karen Senior is a mother to four boys.

“I was actually bit by a dog when I was little,” she said.

She said the program is helping her as much as her kids.

“They come home super excited about getting a dog at the shelter,” she said.

And that is exactly what Humiston is hoping for.

“If we can teach the children how to act around dogs, then that actually takes away the stigma of mean dogs,” he said.

Humiston said he and Molly are willing to go to any town in the Capital Region to help implement the program.

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