Invention takes bite out of being bitten

A young bookkeeper from canton Valais has invented a plastic mouth piece for dogs that promises to greatly reduce injuries from being bitten in an attack.

This content was published on June 5, 2009

Working out of a lab in Visp, Tim Saciri, 28, and his wife spent more than three years developing the Bite Guard, a Thermoplastic shield that slips over a dog's incisors and front teeth much like a mouth guard a boxer might use.

The mouth piece, which sells for SFr260 ($243) and includes a custom fitting, sticks temporarily to a dog's mouth and prevents teeth from tearing or puncturing skin. Victims walk away with a bruise at worst.

The Swiss Army and researchers from Bern University are currently testing Saciri's invention. In a report aired on Swiss television on Thursday evening, a German Shepherd wearing a Bite Guard was unable to pop a balloon with its teeth.

Saciri said he got the idea for the mouth guard after a young child was mauled to death by three pit bulls while walking to kindergarten in Oberglatt, near Zurich, in 2005.

"I was deeply shaken after that," he said. "I couldn't sleep. I started thinking about what could have been done to prevent it."

Saciri drew inspiration for the device from a similar guard he wears himself to prevent grinding his teeth at night.

At least seven people a year seek medical attention for dog bites in Switzerland, though officials estimate the actual number of attacks is at least three times higher.

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