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Dog bites increase over summer



 
 
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Old July 6th 03, 07:14 PM
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Default Dog bites increase over summer

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Dog bites increase over summer

Calls to Animal Control go up during hot months

By Ofelia Garcia Hunter Caller-Times-
July 6, 2003

Some postal workers in the city have experienced the dangers of working on
foot in neighborhoods where loose dogs roam the streets. Wayne Skinner, a
postal worker for five years, has proof on his left calf. During the summer
season, known to Animal Control officers as "dog bite" season, bites
increase because animals and people interact more during the summer months,
said Cherri Stuntz, Animal Control director. "Because the summers are more
busy with people enjoying the nice weather, dogs are also moving around
more," she said. The department deals with 10 to 15 bites a week, but that
number increases to 15 to 20 per week during the summer. A Chow Chow bit
Skinner on a recent Friday as he was delivering mail on Sabinas Street. "I
turned as soon as I felt it," said Skinner. "It could have been worse if I
hadn't reacted as fast." He drove himself to a clinic where his wounds were
cleaned and he received tetanus and antibiotic shots to prevent infection.
Animal Control officers went to the scene to try to capture the dog and
quarantine it. "Our No. 1 priority is animal bites because of the welfare
of the public and rabies being part of it," said Angel Hernandez, Animal
Control supervisor. When a dog bite breaks someone's skin, a report is
filed and the owner has three options, he said. The options include taking
the dog to a vet to be quarantined for 10 days, turning the animal over to
Animal Control for 10 days or having the animal killed and sent to the
Texas Department of Health in Austin for rabies testing. Authorities are
investigating the case of a 3-year-old boy who was attacked by a dog
recently while under the care of foster parents. He and his 4-year-old
brother were taken from their natural parents by Child Protective Services
in mid-June after a gun went off in the home, according to officials. When
the younger boy was returned to his parents, they noticed lacerations on
his face, according to officials. "The kids were taken for the purpose of
being safe," said David Sibley, attorney for the natural parents. "Then
they were mistreated." The child was treated at Driscoll Children's
Hospital and later released. CPS had been investigating the case, officials
said. The identity of the foster parents was not released. Hernandez said
when a child is bitten, the best procedure is to kill the animal and get
lab results because severe dog bites can be life threatening. Some Corpus
Christi residents are using pit bulls and Rottweillers to protect their
property. These guard dogs can also threaten postal workers and other civil
servants. "We have them as protection," said Frances Acevedo, who lives on
Bonner Drive with her grandson's pit bull. But officers had to be called to
her house when the pit bull threatened a postal worker. The animal, which
got loose earlier that day, had been subdued by the time Animal Control
officers arrived. Animal Control receives an average of 30 calls daily for
dead animals and another 30 for animals that need to be trapped because
they are injured, sick or no longer wanted by their owners, according to
reports. "We do have a problem more in certain areas, and that's where we
work on education more, like the leash laws and proper pet ownership," said
Hernandez. West Corpus Christi is often problematic for Animal Control
officers because some residents are unaware of leash laws and the need for
various animal vaccinations, officials said. When an animal is aggressive,
officers use a tranquilizer gun to calm and capture them. The animal is
kept in an Animal Control kennel for 72 hours where the owner can claim it.
After the third day, the animal is put to death. "The worst part of my job
is euthanizing an animal," said Hernandez. "But after 18 years of doing
this, I know I can do it with respect." Contact Ofelia Garcia Hunter at
886-3759 or

2003 Texas Scripps Newspapers, L.P. A Scripps Howard newspaper
 




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