Dog Bite Focuses Attention on Animal Safety

A nine-year-old girl will likely need reconstructive surgery after being bitten by a dog over the weekend.

It’s the type of case that strikes fear into dog owners. With the weather moderating, the experts say when you're out for a walk with the dog, turning the animal loose can be a recipe for trouble.

The Humane society says an English bulldog named Bubba is in a 10-day rabies quarantine as a precaution. Investigators say he wasn't licensed and did not have a rabies vaccine. His owner, Donna Matherne, has been cited.

Matherne and her dog were visiting friends when the dog bit the nine-year-old girl in the face.

The Humane Society’s Mark Langan said, “It's never a good idea to leave a child with a dog. We're still investigating. There's potential for additional charges being filed down the line because this is a pretty serious bite and there's no indication the dog was provoked."

Langan says the bite from Bubba was listed on the severity scale as a five. Six is the worst.

With the weather warming, we'll be seeing dogs enjoying weather more and more. We talked with owners at the dog park at Hefflinger Monday afternoon who said keeping their dogs from biting is a concern.

Ashley Bartels said, "It is a fear. You never know what an animal can do. You never want to leave the dog alone, even knowing the dog."

They took their dogs Henry and Nigel to daycare early on to get them socialized and comfortable with other dogs and children but Tess Sawan told us, “I feel like I always stay close to my dog and hold him under his chest to make sure he's good with whomever he's around."

The incident over the weekend happened at an apartment complex near 144th and West Center Road. A friend was visiting with the dog.

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