Vicious dog attacks pets, woman bitten - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vicious dog attacks pets, woman bitten

February 9, 2007


Albany --  A big mistake means a victim of a vicious dog attack will have to take rabies shots.   Eloise Clearman and her four small dogs were attacked by a pit bull in East Albany Wednesday morning.  

One of her little dogs was killed, three others injured and Mrs. Clearman was bitten on the thumb. She will now have to undergo a series of expensive, painful rabies shots.

Eloise Clearman recalls with great pain what happened when her neighbor's pit bull came across the fence and attacked her four little dogs. "The dog starting climbing the fence into my yard. I started beating it with a stick, and then it grabbed my little dog and started killing it. I was fighting it and hollering."

But Her husband, David, was in the bathroom and didn't hear her at first. "I thought I heard a noise, so I put on my pants, went outside and saw her fighting with that dog. I told her to go grab my pistol."

He shot the pit bull twice in the head and rushed their little dogs to the vet. Lacy, the Yorky was fatally mauled. Three others are recovering.

While the pit bull didn't attack Mrs. Clearman, she was bitten on the thumb trying to rescue her little dogs. "My thumb was cut by the dog's tooth."

Enough of an injury to require rabies shots. "They told me it will cost about $1,200.00." She'll have to take the shots because, perhaps unintentionally, animal control protocol was broken.

If animal control knows there's a dog bite victim, the health department is called. But animal control workers say they were unaware that Mrs. Clearman had been bitten until the next day, even though an ambulance was at the house, and paramedics were attending to Mrs. Clearman's hand when animal control arrived.

"I called them to ask about rabies and she said, 'The dog bit you? Why didn't you tell me yesterday?'" So the pit bull's body was returned to its owner without being tested for rabies.

We saw the owner of the pit bulldog, and asked her: "I'd like to talk to you about your dog that attacked your neighbor's dogs."

She said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"You don't own a dog that was shot and killed next door Wednesday?" we asked.

"You'll have to talk to the police."

"Where is the dog's body so it can be tested for rabies?"

"It can't be tested because he shot it and it's head's too messed up," said the owner. 

The dog's head was messed up, but tests could still be done had the dog not been buried. The health department says it would have done rabies tests on the dog had they been notified. Now, it's too late.

"That would have been the first thing that came into my mind, was whether the dog had rabies," said Ms. Clearman.

As painful as the shots will be, they won't come close to the pain Eloise Clearman endures over the loss of her beloved Lacy. While their other dogs are recuperating from the attack, David Clearman says it will take a while for them to get over the trauma. "I just worry about what would have happened if I had not been here," said Mr. Clearman.    

Thank goodness he was there. The Health Department says, without question, they would have tested the dog for rabies had they been called before it was buried. Mrs. Clearman must begin her shots within a week.

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