October 26, 2012

Dog attacks 5-year-old girl in Portland

A Falmouth family is trying to identify a dog so they can spare their daughter a series of rabies shots.

From staff reports

FALMOUTH — A Falmouth woman is trying to identify a dog so she can spare her 5-year-old daughter a series of rabies shots.

Gia Davis said her daughter was walking with a care-giver on one of Portland's trails near the Ocean Avenue dog park about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday when a dog attacked her.

The care-giver and witnesses told Davis that the girl, who was already afraid of dogs, curled up in a fetal position and the dog bit her in the back of the neck and broke the skin, Davis said.

The dog retreated after a woman called for it.

"We were probably pretty lucky," Davis said. "This dog had her by the back of the neck."

Now, Davis wants to make sure the dog has had a rabies shot, so that her daughter doesn't have to get a series of five shots, including two at the site of the puncture.

"I have to vaccinate her. It's most likely not needed, but I don't know 100 percent and I have to make a pretty quick call," Davis said.

She must hear by Friday night or she will have to start the treatment, she said.

The care-giver, who is a nurse, tried to get the name of the dog's owner, Davis said. The woman said her name was Regina and she was from Vermont. She gave her a phone number with a Vermont area code.

When they tried to call the number later, it was disconnected. Davis said the number may have been copied wrong, but either way, she wants to know whether the dog is up to date on its vaccinations.

Dogs must be licensed in Maine and must have up-to-date rabies vaccinations to be licensed.

Davis said she has few clues about the dog's identity. It appeared to be a mixed breed related to a pit bull though somewhat bigger, like a Labrador retriever, she said.

The woman was with a man, and they appeared to be in their 30s. He had a short, scruffy beard and she had shoulder- length, straight dark hair and was wearing a green L.L. Bean-style vest, the care-giver told Davis.

They appeared to be with another couple, who had two yellow Labrador retrievers, Davis said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lt. John Kilbride at the Falmouth Police Department.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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