On a beautiful Monday, May morning. 6:50 a.m., I took my dog, Spatzle, a Maltese mix, out to do his “business.” We headed down the driveway to the front yard when I heard excited yapping. A rat terrier was charging us from across the street. He had broken his tie-out leash. I picked Spatzle up because he was raring for a fight. I headed back up the driveway to the back deck. The Rat terrier bit me in the calf, and then followed me, yipping all the way. I didn’t run but I was stunned by the audacity of this little animal. He didn’t come up the stairs to our back door. I might have had to kick him if he’d tried to follow us into the house.
I managed to get into the house. I checked my leg. Nasty bruise and four puncture wounds – even though I wore pants. I headed out the front door to try to find the dog and his owner.
I went to talk to her. She’d been in the house. The dog had been out alone. I showed her the bite and told her I was going to go to Urgent Care.
I went to the clinic. I was traveling to Colorado the next morning so I requested an antibiotic just to be safe because the doctor didn’t want to give me one. I prevailed. I got my tetanus shot because it was overdue. The police were called.
I joke that calling the police on your neighbors is the best way to get to know them. Seriously, this is the second time in seven years that the police were called on a neighbor and it provided an opportunity to interact in a favorable way! We had a pleasant conversation.
A police report was filed. She had a hefty fine to pay. I warned my kids that as much as I adore our dog, if he bit someone unprovoked like that, I’d be putting him down. I cannot afford a dog like that. Her fine was over $400! My insurance will be going after her renter’s insurance for the payment of my medical bills. Her dog was given a 10-day quarantine.
I thought that was the end of it. Then I got a notice for a restitution hearing and had to go online to see what the statutes are regarding this kind of thing. Apparently, not only is she liable for my medical bills but because the dog has bitten before, she has to appear in court (and I’m invited). According to the law, if the dog has bitten before: “The owner of a dog shall forfeit not less than $200 nor more than $5,000 if the dog injures or causes injury to a person…” (Wisconsin State Statute 174.02). This is not about reimbursing medical expenses.
Oh, and the judge can determine if the dog is to be put down. Kind of implied that this is the way things will go since the dog has bitten twice.
I will have a permanent scar. Not a big deal. Thankfully it was my calf and not my hand. Thankfully my daughter wasn’t the one to take the dog out. She might not have been able to rescue our dog and her injuries could have been far worse (physically and psychologically).
So that’s my dog bite adventure. Never a dull moment in my world.