A local couple is searching for a man whose dog bit their two-year-old daughter in Meridian Hill Park last week.
The couple, who only want to be identified by their first names and Kate and Jamal, said a small white dog — possibly a terrier or a Jack Russell terrier — bit their daughter Elise while the family walked through the park last Thursday around 11 a.m.
Kate and Jamal said the dog’s owner, a “fair skinned white man in his late 50s or early 60s,” pried the dog from their daughter but left the scene before the couple could ask about the pet’s immunization status.
The family posted flyers around the neighborhood with a photo of their daughter’s injuries and a note to the dog owner earlier this week.
“Kate and I were initially frustrated by not being able to protect our child, and then angry that the man walking the dog would run away,” Jamal said in an e-mail to Borderstan today.
Originally, Jamal and Kate suspected they might have to vaccinate their daughter for rabies as a precaution. Jamal said that, following the attack, he received conflicting medical advice about whether his daughter was at risk for contracting the disease.
“We were told that we were facing very serious risks,” Jamal said. “But in researching rabies, I learned that while the consequences from getting rabies are horrible (nearly always fatal), the likelihood (probability) of that occurring in this instance — being bitten by a leashed dog in Washington DC — are negligible.”
“Animal control told me that in the District, the last case of rabies in a dog was in 2005,” Jamal added. “I think we are going to opt not to subject our two-year-old to the post-exposure rabies vaccine shots.”
Still, the couple — who filed a report with the U.S. Park Police yesterday — simply want the dog’s owner to make himself known and put their minds at ease.
“We are asking the dog owner to come forward and confirm that his dog is in good health, has not recently tangled with any wildlife and has been vaccinated for rabies.” Jamal said. “I am confident that the wheels of Karma will come around to deal with whomever was walking that dog.”
Kate and Jamal are urging anyone who may have witnessed the incident to contact them at the phone numbers listed on the flyer.