May 8, 2013

Dogs involved in attack on Lebanon girl pass test for rabies

The two pit bulls show no signs of rabies after a 10-day quarantine, officials say.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The two pit bulls who bit a 12-year-old and her rescuer in Lebanon have passed their 10-day quarantine showing no signs of rabies.

The dogs were taken into custody after they were found attacking the girl at her home on River Road in Lebanon on April 24.

A man who was visiting nearby, Adam Horr of Dover, N.H. heard Angel Sargent screaming and ran to the house about 75 yards away. He found two dogs biting at her and attacked them, fending them off until a man inside the house woke up and calmed the dogs.

Both Sargent and Horr were bitten in the incident. The dogs, named Jager and Meister after a German liquor, are seven months old and were not up to date on the vaccinations, according to authorities. The law requires that dogs are supposed to be vaccinated for rabies within 30 days of turning six months old.

The dogs were placed in quarantine at the Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk for 10 days, by which time, if they had rabies, it would have been apparent.

"The quarantine period has been completed. The dogs remain healthy. That would indicate they do not have rabies," said Steve Jacobsen, executive director of the shelter.

Angel Sargent's mother, Catherine Sargent, said her daughter is fine and has been fine and she asked for privacy for the family.

"Everybody knows she's doing well," Sargent said.

Horr could not be reached for comment but Lebanon's animal control officer, Mary Kinney, said she believes he was notified of the good news. She referred any further questions about the case to the State Police.

The dogs seem to be healthy, though not in ideal conditions.

"They're like any dog after a period of just being locked in a cage. They get a little bit agitated. They want to be exercised," he said.

The dogs were kept in separate runs, with plenty of space to exercise but still confined and they were not taken for walks because of the quarantine, he said.

Jacobsen said he will be contacting State Police to determine what to do with the dogs. The owner, Rory Downs, has not made contact with the shelter, he said.

"Custody is a little unclear," he said. "Technically, if they're not being held, they would go back to the owner."

The State Police trooper who is the lead investigator on the case was not available Wednesday.

York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery said the case remains under investigation and no decision has been made on charges.

The owner could potentially faces charges of keeping a dangerous dog, though that usually happens when a dog has a history of biting, authorities said.

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

dhench@mainetoday.com

 

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