- The Humane Society estimates 51% of dog bite victims are children.
- Getting bitten by a dog is the second most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms for children according to a survey done.
- Children are also more likely than adults to need medical attention, and are far more likely to be severely injured.
Dog bite prevention training specialist, Lesley Zoromski, is a passionate educator and lifelong dog lover.
Her 15-year teaching career was focused on elementary education where she taught children ages 4 to 8. Since transitioning to the world of dog training in 2003, she has trained thousands of dogs and their owners in addition to helping dozens of local rescue groups and their dogs in need.
With the specific goal of bettering the life of children and dogs alike, Lesley has channeled this passion and unique combination of experience into developing Stop, Look & Paws™. Over 5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States, with over half of all victims being children. For Lesley, these are unacceptable statistics. The critical need to provide improved safety was the driving force in creating the child/dog safety activity that is Stop, Look & Paws™.
In 2016, Kids-n-K9s was first created, but it wasn't until 2017 that she initiated an annual dog bite prevention training campaign to provide school children with information about dog safety.
Her goal is to provide elementary school children (grades K or 1st) with their own copy of Stop, Look & Paws™ to take home and share with their families. She works with local businesses and veterinarians to share costs, so Stop, Look & Paws™ could be provided free of charge as a donation to schools and children. Businesses provide the Stop, Look & Paws™ activity to each child as a gift and donation, and Lesley presents key information on dog safety in each sponsored classroom, in person or via Zoom. The first year (2017/18) was focused in Petaluma, and was a big success, with 500 Stop, Look & Paws™ donated to children in 23 classrooms thanks to the support of so many local businesses and individuals.
News began to spread. In March 2018, a local newspaper, Argus Courier first featured Kids-n-K9s and the volunteer work in the classrooms to educate children. AKC’s Family Dog Magazine featured an article on Kids-n-K9s and Stop, Look & Paws™ in their Nov/Dec 2018 issue. In January of 2020, Family Magazine Group presented Stop, Look & Paws™ learning activity a Family Choice Award for best product and resource for parents with elementary age children. To read more, click the emblem.
However, it wasn’t until Petaluma’s local animal shelter, North Bay Animal Services, heard about her efforts and decided to offer support, that things really took off. To date over 6,000 Stop, Look & Paws sets have been donated to children and their families. Most recently, Lesley’s goal is to expand this annual campaign to other cities, helping even more children make safe decisions around dogs was achieved in 2020 due to her partnership with North Bay Animal Services. North Bay Animal Services expanded their services to 2 additional cities. Now, all kindergartners in Petaluma, Windsor and Cloverdale are provided with Stop, Look & Paws™ sets free of charge to each child and their families. Lesley continues to offer a complimentary presentations to each classroom to learn first hand about dog safety.
To learn more about this annual campaign, go to our blog section.
Lesley has a B.S. in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She regularly volunteers her time and the use of her own Canine Good Citizen (CGC) dogs in working with local shelters and schools to promote various “Humane Education” programs. Lesley lives in Petaluma, California with her husband, Darrell and the numerous dogs that are lucky enough to call her house a home.