Do you have information? Time is running out to find dog that attacked Bellaire boy
By Charlotte Aguilar
A Bellaire mother is in a desperate race against the clock to find a woman whose dog attacked her 11-year-old son Monday night as he rode his bike near his home around Lafayette Park — to prevent a series of rabies shots from being administered to the already traumatized child.
“I don’t want to have to give my son these painful shots,” Jill Schroeder pleaded, asking anyone with information about the attack or the owner to come forward immediately. If the dog — one of two being walked on leashes by the woman — is not found, the youngster will have to begin treatment Thursday, she said.
Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway told Instant News Wednesday morning that the department’s first priority is to get the woman to contact officers and present her dog and evidence of vaccination to eliminate the need for the boy to receive treatment. “Beyond that, we want to hear her side of the story,” he said.
A 13-year-old girl swinging in the park also saw the woman and the dogs, and has spoken with the city’s animal control officer.
The dog walker was described as being in her 20s or 30s, about 5-feet-7 inches tall with a small build, medium length dark hair in a pony tail wearing a maroon medical-type scrubs top and light blue shorts. The boy described one dog as all black and the other brown and white, but the boy and girl could not pinpoint a breed, saying the dogs resembled mastiffs, pit bulls or boxers.
Both the boy and girl said the woman appeared to be walking toward the Officer Lucy Dog Park adjacent to Lafayette Park in the southeast corner of Bellaire, and that she possibly got out of a small blue SUV with the animals.
As the dog became agitated, Schroeder said the woman told her son that “bicycles make him (the dog) nervous.”
The boy told police he got off the bike and tried to put it between himself and the lunging dog, which had escaped from the owner, first attacking his torso, then his leg.
Schroeder, a single mother of three, said she arrived home to find her son with puncture wounds and scratches, bleeding and upset, and was concerned that the woman had left the scene of the attack without calling police or seeking medical aid for him.
Holloway said the boy told two investigating officers that the woman had “asked if he was OK.” According to the female witness, the woman ran after her dog, who had fled, put them into the vehicle and drove away.
The boy, who suffers from a mild variety of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome, had his wounds treated, but if the dogs which bit him can’t be tested for rabies or confirmed to be vaccinated, infectious disease experts at Texas Children Hospital told Schroeder her son will have to undergo up to five rabies shots, she said.
Although she is insured, Schroeder said her insurance will not cover the vaccines — only the administration of them — and she was quoted a cost of $2,000-3,000 per shot.
Investigators and the mother independently visited the Officer Lucy Dog Park Tuesday to see if the woman was a regular known to visitors at the park.
Schroeder also put the word out on social media, hoping one of her neighbors might have observed something or had a video camera pointed in the direction of the incident.
So far, no luck. “It’s frustrating because someone has to have seen something or know about her,” she said.
Complicating the matter, Holloway said, is his estimate that up to 40 percent of the visitors to Officer Lucy Dog Park live outside Bellaire.
If the woman and the dog are located, because of the bite the dog would be quarantined for a period, either at the owner’s residence or a veterinarian’s office.
Anyone with information should contact the Bellaire police non-emergency line at 713-668-0487 or Schroeder at 713-724-6067 immediately.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that although rabies in humans is rare, between 16,000 and 39,000 people receive vaccinations each year because, if contracted, the disease is almost always fatal.