Friday, October 03, 2014

My Possibly Even Worse Day

So, after the dog bite incident last night, I talked to my neighbor and told him I wanted proof the dog had had its vaccinations. Oh, absolutely it had, he said. But he couldn't find the paperwork. Or the tag. Gosh, the kids must have removed the dog's collar. Don't know where it is. But no problem he said -- and actually sounded very nice and accommodating -- if I came by in the morning after I got off work, if he hadn't found the papers yet, we could call the vet and get the proof. Great.

So, this morning, I go by the house. No answer. He's not there, or he's ignoring me. I give up and try to get some sleep. Four and a half hours later, I wake up, and try over there again. His mother-in-law is there, babysitting. She knows nothing, but I at least manage to find out their names.

I call the vet where they told me they got the dog vaccinated. The vet's office has a record of treating the dog, but say they never gave him any shots.

I figure I'd better go to the doctor, just to be safe. They can tell me whether I need a rabies shot or something. So I manage to get an appointment, and the medical professional -- I actually think she was a nurse or PA -- frankly knows less about rabies than I do. Seriously, actual snippet of conversation:

Her: So, I guess be on the look out for... I don't even know what the symptoms of rabies are.

Me: I do. And once you start experiencing them, you're dead.

Also, she asked me if I knew whether there'd been any rabies in dogs around here lately.

Not that it matters all that much, anyway, since they don't even have rabies vaccines. I'd need to call the state health department for that, apparently. She had no idea whether I ought to or not.

Both the vet and the doctor told me I should call the cops and/or animal control, that in a case like this, the protocol is for the dog to be quarantined.

I hadn't wanted to get the authorities involved. It's a very minor bite, I didn't want to press charges, I'm not a making-waves kind of person, but... OK. I called the cops, who told me to call animal control, who told me to call the cops.

A cop came out, took a picture of my bite, heard the story, and went over to talk to the neighbors. He then came back and said, "Well, she says the dog's been vaccinated!" -- at the same vet I'd called earlier. "She's going to get the paperwork from them. She also says the dog bit you because you chased it, and that you yelled at her daughter."

I then, as politely as possible, pointed out that the vet records she was referring to, according to the vet did not exist, that the dog was running loose, that it had bit me from behind, as was consistent with the position of the bite mark, that I thought it fairly natural to yell when you'd just been bitten by a dog, and that the woman in question wasn't even there at the time and hadn't seen it happen.

Anyway, he just kept repeating that she said the dog had been vaccinated. All right, I said, but what if she couldn't prove it?

The cop didn't know.

What would happen with the dog? Was someone going to quarantine or examine it?

The cop didn't know. But he'd seen the dog, and it seemed OK. (Which is interesting, because the guy told me they were planning on getting rid of the dog today, and then that they were going to take it somewhere last night.)

Was she required to provide proof of vaccination to the police? Would they call me back and let me know any information that might determine whether I needed a shot?

The cop didn't know. But, hey, she was going to the vet to get the records now, he said.

And what happens when they don't have the records?, I said.

The cop didn't know.

So, I said, it sounds like what's happening is that you're going to take her word for it and do nothing.

Oh, no!, he said. That wasn't true at all.

So what are you going to do?, I asked.

The cop didn't know. But if I wanted, I could pick up a police report in 3-5 business days!

But I need to know if I need a rabies shot!, I said.

Well, he could go over to the vet and check himself and come back and talk to me if I really wanted, he said.

I told him that would be great, yes.

And then he got an emergency call for something that I cannot argue sounded a lot more important, and ran off.

So, yeah. I think what's going to happen is jack and shit, other than my neighbors being pissed off at me for something that is entirely their own damned (and quite illegal) fault.

Anyway. The odds that the dog actually has rabies are exceedingly small, really. Of course, exceedingly small times 100% fatality rate still adds up to something worth taking seriously. But at this point, I do not think I am going to call the state health department and demand a rabies shot, especially if the dog is behaving normally, except for the biting-me thing.

Update: Just as I was finishing typing this up, the neighbor woman knocked on my door and said they'd taken the dog in for quarantine. She was mad at me, I was mad at her, but we talked things out, there was mutual reconciliation, and she swears the dog will not be running around loose anymore. I really, really hope that's true. I don't want to have to go through something like this again.

But, god. So much suck today. SO. MUCH. SUCK.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go to the pharmacy and pick up some antibiotics.


  1. Your city/county animal control sucks. Even I know more about what to do than they do! Do they not watch Animal Planet?

    1. It really was just one giant facepalm. You'd figure there'd be public health protocols in place. I figured that, and figured I could call people and they'd know what to do, and what I should do, and take care of it. I forgot briefly where I was living.

      Come the zombie apocalypse, we are sooooo doomed.

  2. That's awful. Hope you don't have rabies -- and wish you were getting more than just the same hope from the local cops and animal control!

    1. Thanks. I'm virtually certain the dog isn't infected, but, y'know, legally I'm supposed to have what is effectively a guarantee of that. And, really, all I wanted to know what what the official recommendation was! I had no idea that was going to be so difficult.