Victoria mother wants answer to attack by unvaccinated pit bull
Oct. 10, 2011 at 5:10 a.m.
ABOUT THE BREED
Dr. John Beck, with Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria, said pit bulls often get a bad reputation for being vicious, but they are not more dangerous than any other dog.
"With all dogs, you need to be more cautious of them hurting other people," he said.
Most times, he sees more dog bites from breeds other than pit bulls, he said.
However, pit bulls are usually raised to be fighting, aggressive dogs; that is the problem, he said.
"There is so many sweet pit bulls out there," he said
For Janie Gonzalez, there is no bigger fear than playing the waiting game with her son's health.
Gonzalez's 7-year-old son, Jon Gonzalez, was attacked on his right arm Thursday by a pit bull in Calhoun County.
Now, mother and son must wait 10 days to learn if the unvaccinated dog has rabies or not, a protocol Gonzalez is not happy about.
"I just can't sleep at night," Gonzalez said Monday. "Where this dog bit my son is too darn close to the face."
Canine puncture wounds about an inch apart mark Jon's upper arm. A gauze pad near his elbow covers stitching.
Jon is shy and squeezes a plush, light brown teddy bear into the nook of his neck. The stuffed animal, video games and cartoons have kept the Nazareth Academy student occupied.
He has missed school because his arm is still swollen. A reddish, brown shine blankets the skin close to the elbow wound.
Jon had been with his babysitter, who had gone to visit some friends in Port Lavaca, his mother said.
Gonzalez has been in contact with the owner of the dog, Ana Castillo, who told her the dog was not vaccinated.
Castillo understands why Gonzalez would be worried about her son's health, but said her dog, Locs, would not have attacked had it not been provoked.
Locs is white spotted with brown and is about a year old, Castillo said.
He had been tied up outside when several kids had been kicking and provoking Locs.
Castillo does not know if Jon was involved, but as to her understanding, Jon tried running away with the other kids and tripped, which is why he was bitten.
Castillo said she does not feel it is necessary to have her dog put down and tested for rabies.
"If he was aggressive and busted off the chain, then who wouldn't put him down and get him tested?" Castillo said. "But he was provoked."
The city of Port Lavaca follows state protocol, in which the dog will be quarantined for 10 days to see if it shows any sign of rabies, said Bob Turner, Port Lavaca city manager.
A veterinarian will then give the dog an assessment and vaccinate, he said.
There is no separate protocol for a dog who is impounded that animal control knows is not vaccinated, which is what concerns Gonzalez. She wants the dog immediately euthanized and tested.
But Turner said the city must follow state law.
"We gave her all the references," he said of Gonzalez.
Castillo said Locs has not shown any signs of rabies.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez is at a standstill: waiting to see if her son will be fine.
This is a protocol she feels has to change.
"What can one person do?" she said. "What has to be done to change that? Is it going to take someone to die of rabies?"
That chance is probably slim to none, said Dr. John McNeill, a Victoria general practitioner.
"She doesn't have anything to worry about if it's a domestic animal, like a dog, cat or ferret," McNeill said.
If the animal is domestic and is quarantined and observed and shows no signs of rabies, then no anti-rabies action or treatment needs to be taken, he said.
"The only reason it is a big deal is that rabies is uniformly fatal if contracted," he said.