Karen Cauthorne has been walking around her Ruther Glen neighborhood for 35 years. Last week, she was attacked by a dog. “He stood there and growled at me,” Cauthorne said. “Then he walked around to the front of me. I swatted my arm to shoo him away and he jumped on my arm.” She said she got away and made it safely to her home, but she’s still worried.
Cauthorne says she waited a week for Caroline County Animal Control to address the issue with the dog’s owner, but it never happened. She said the dog’s home is about six houses down from where she lives. The County Health Department got involved because the dog drew blood when he attacked her. Cauthorne said they advised her to contact her doctor about getting rabies shots. That was something she hoped to avoid. She said that’s why she was counting on county leaders getting in touch with the dog owner. Cauthorne said she grew frustrated when the health department asked her to find out the dog owner’s name.
She left a note, but didn’t find out the person’s name. That’s when Cauthorne said she was advised that they would close her case on Wednesday before workers there left for the Thanksgiving holiday. She said she was told they would mark the case “dog not captured”.
One of the things that I have loved most about Caroline County has been my experience with local government agencies. Whether paying my taxes, changing my mailing address, requesting information, reaching out to members of the Board of Supervisors or contacting the Circuit Court, I have never had anything less than a wonderfully cheerful and helpful response.
This story troubles me precisely for that reason. Are there problems at Animal Control? Frankly, any problems with Animal Control should be taken directly to Sheriff Lippa and his staff, who oversee that department. The CBS story does not say whether or not Karen Cauthorne was in contact with the Sheriff’s Department. Animal bites, while not common or usually that big of a deal (stuff happens), are still a serious matter. If a pet bites a member of the community, the pet and the owner should be addressed, if only to make sure that the animal is healthy, and that the conditions and care of that animal or responsible.
I sincerely hope that this story is an aberration and that animal control will eventually investigate the case to at least some level of satisfaction. That said, if anyone else did find themselves in a similar situation, WTVR shouldn’t be your second call if Animal Control isn’t doing their job. Your second call should be to the Sheriff. WTVR also should have been aware of that fact as well.