In 1999, Kelly Voigt of Palatine, Illinois, then seven, was seriously injured when a neighbor’s dog attacked her as she walked near her home. She received about 100 stitches in her face and throat and later required treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression. Tragically, what happened to Kelly is not uncommon. Dog bites are one of the top 10 causes of injury to children every year in the United States. There are more hospital emergency room visits due to dog bites than from skateboard, in-line skating, baby walker, all-terrain vehicle, and horse-back riding accidents combined. Armed with this information, Kelly began teaching other children how to stay safe around dogs. Her dog safety presentations became so popular that in 2004 a 501c3 nonprofit organization was formed.
Using information from many different sources, school psychologist Nancy Skeffington and Kathy Voigt (Kelly’s mother) developed and implemented a successful and effective educational program called Prevent The Bite (PTB) geared toward elementary school aged children. Nancy and Kelly Voigt, along with Nancy’s certified therapy dog, Casey, presented safety strategies to thousands of children in Illinois and Wisconsin. Eventually, Kelly was speaking in Washington, DC, New York and more. PTB received both local (ABC and NBC) and national (Today Show, Oprah, WGN, People Magazine, Time for Kids, Teen Magazine) media exposure, and Prevent The Bite has been flooded with requests from around the world for this critically acclaimed safety program.
PTB has aligned itself with some of the most reputable organizations in the nation in its effort to keep children safe from dog bites and provide a healthy and secure bond between children and dogs. Information PTB created has been sent to all 37,000 Post Offices in the U.S. every year since 2004. In 2006 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joined forces with PTB, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the U.S. Postal Service to sponsor National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the third week in May. The AAP sent PTB information to all 60,000 members of their academy and in 2009 PTB was joined by the American Society for Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons to promote National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Although Prevent The Bite is no longer a 501(c)3 nonprofit,
we are still devoted to keeping children safe from dog bites.
Resources and educational materials will gladly be provided free of charge upon request.
Please use the contact page to send us your questions or request information.