GREENE COUNTY, Mo. – As we head into the summer months, animal bite numbers are starting to go up. 

Springfield-Greene County Animal Control said people and animals are spending more time outside, allowing for more encounters.

“We’re up around 20 dog bites this month,” said Kit Baumgartner, Animal Control Supervisor. “We were down below 10 in the colder months.”

Baumgartner said the bites also are coming from wild animals and cats.

Some animal bites, he said, can be very serious.

They use a ranking scale from one to six, with one being just a scratch to six being a fatal bite.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of twos, threes and some fours,” said Baumgartner.

Many times, Baumgartner said, bites are unprovoked.

“Which means somebody walking down a street and a loose dog in the front yard who might be territorial out to the middle of that street,” said Baumgartner. “It might be territorial to the neighbor’s yard.”

However, he said there are things to keep in mind.

Those include not reaching into a dog’s territory.

“We always tell people not to reach into a fence,” said Baumgartner.

They advise people that want to approach a dog to make sure the owner is around and ask for permission.

The department is working heavily on rabies mitigation.

“Our goal is to protect people from rabies,” said Baumgartner. “Hopefully keep people from getting rabies vaccinations, which can be very expensive.”

Other advice from animal control is to stand your ground if a dog runs up to you in a street. They recommend not running away and trying to speak to the dog in a soft tone.