Though Los Alamosans occasionally encounter coyotes or even mountain lions while walking, the great majority of pedestrian problems caused by animals involve domestic dogs. Typical reports to LA Walks include:
These conditions are always unpleasant, and may be dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people in the U.S. are bitten by domestic dogs each year, almost 800,000 require medical attention, and on average 17 (mostly children) are killed.
Most dog incidents can be attributed to irresponsible owners who don't clean up after their dogs, don't keep them under control, or fail to provide obedience training for their pets. In some cases, dogs may behave unpredictably when exposed to a novel stimulus.
What can you do? Responsible pet owners will be responsive to complaints, so notifying the dog's owner is a good first step. If that fails, or if the owner can't be identified, call the County Animal Control department at (505) 662-8177. In case of emergency, dial 911. County Animal Control can also advise you on the laws pertaining to animals, and legal recourse for persistent problems or bites.
Here is some additional information on avoiding dog attacks, and what to do if attacked. Be aware that there is no specific advice that is guaranteed to work for all dogs in all situations.
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