WESTFIELD, NJ – A 6-year-old girl petting a Labrador in Tamaques Park was rushed to the hospital after the dog bit her on the lip and chin, police said Tuesday.

Police received the call at 9:43 a.m. Saturday and by the time officers arrived the father had already left to take the girl to Overlook Medical Center in Summit, Sgt. Michael Walsh said.

In the United States, dogs bite about 4.7 million people annually, with children between the ages of 5 and 9 being at the greatest risk, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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“Even the cuddliest, fuzziest, sweetest pet can bite if provoked. Remember, it is not a dog's breed that determines whether it will bite, but rather the dog's individual history and behavior,” the Association states on its website.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

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