GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Guilford County Animal Control is warning parents of pet safety during the summer due to the increase of animal bites.
The total number of bites reported for the month of May was 70 and, so far, the month of June has 35.
Animal Control Officer M.J. Alford said that because kids are out of school, the department sees an increase in bites or attacks, many times in city parks.
"Just because its on a leash and being walked by somebody does not always mean its a friendly dog," Alford said.
On Monday, Alford responded to a call of a feral kitten. She's says the bite of a feral kitten can by more intense than a domesticated adult and there are risks of diseases.
"There are more kittens this time of year and children, especially the younger ones, they go, 'Oh sweet little kitten,' and think it's a stuffed animal," Alford said. "There are things like giardia -- where they just have super bad intentional problems that are contagious to humans. That is one of the many zoonotic diseases that you can get from animals."
Alford said that she and other officers always remind children to only pet or touch any animal after their parents and the owners permission. Also, reach out to the animal with a fist instead of an open palm.
If a child or anyone is ever attacked by a dog they should do one of two things, stand tall and firm as a tree or lie like a rock to protect yourself from injury.
"Remember, lock hands like a rock and put them over the top part of your head because that way the dogs cant get hold of your ears," Alford said.
Forsyth County Animal Shelter Director Tim Jennings said they are also seeing an increase in animal bites. At this time last year there were 384 reported. To date there is a total of 397.3
Alamamce County's Environmental Health Services Department reports a total of 132 animal bites so far this year.