Friday, November 20, 2009

So, I don't have rabies after all.

About two weeks ago, I was strolling past a grocery store, content at having found a sweet doll to send to my best friend's new daughter -- when I was bitten by a dog. An English bull terrier. You know, a Spuds Mackenzie dog from the 80s beer commercials? I was walking towards it, thinking what an odd looking head these dogs have, and how people think they are so violent, but this one looks sweet. (ha ha, right?) It was tied to a post outside the store and as I walked past, it jumped up like it was greeting me. No growl, no bark. Just up on its hind legs, pawing in the air with its front legs like it wants a head scratch or other affection. So I stepped closer to pet it -- and CHOMP! It dropped down and went straight for my shin! Bit right through my jeans into my flesh.

Thing is, when I backed away, it again just sat there calmly. It wasn't being aggressive. It wasn't straining at its leash. It obviously was just stressed and scared about being tied up with all these people about and felt the need to protect itself from anyone too close, and I obviously had been too close when I walked by.

The crowd informed me that it had bitten two people before me, and another woman whom it bit was waiting for the owner to come out. When the owner came out, she said "Oh. He's never done that before. I'm so sorry." I told her this isn't an I'm Sorry situtuation. A dog that bites everyone who walks by obviously has issues being tied up in a strange location in public, and there is next to no chance it has "never done that before".

At this point the woman walked over to the dog to untie it - and hit it three times in the side! As if the dog has any idea why it is being hit! Which is probably exactly why it is stressed about being tied up in public. Because it probably bit someone the first time, and got hit when the owner returned, and then bit and was hit every subsequent time it was tied up in public. It probably equates being tied up in public with being hit, which explains its stress.

I took the owner's phone number, and the number of the other woman the dog bit, and I had to call Animal Services. I knew it would fall on the dog, but I hoped someone would step in and smack the owner three times on her side! Because the bite broke the skin, I had to call Public Health and they had to quarrantine the dog for 10 days to ensure it didn't have rabies. I wasn't really all that concerned about rabies as I've been vaccinated from working at the shelter. I just wish the owner was the one who had to be quarrantined. I feel so bad that if the owner continues to be irresponsible and stresses out the dog by still tying it up in public, and the dog bites again, now it has "a record". Because of me. And it may have to be destroyed if it bites again, because it has a record, because of me.

It's so unfair. Animal Services still hasn't come by to take my statement. They say they're dispatched to my place each day, but then higher priority calls arrive. I don't have a problem with that, I just hope they do get around to me some day. I want it on file that they need to be keeping a record of this owner more so than the dog, and that if the dog bites again they need to look closely into whether or not the owner drove it to do so with her flagrant disregard for its physical and mental well-being.

Regardless, Public Health called me today to tell me the dog is out of quarrantine and just fine, so there is no chance it had rabies at the time it bit me, so I'm good to go. Yeah. Real good. I painted a bullseye on a dog. I'm terrific.

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