Miguel Nunez set out for his usual morning bike trip. It was a familiar path that would lead to an unexpected ending.
“All of the sudden, four dogs come into the road,” Miguel recalled.
Miguel recalls those barking, biting, dogs.
“He actually bit me pretty deeply in four parts, two of them they were very deep,” he said. “I had to use my bike as my shield because the dog that bit was the dog that persistently kept trying to bit me again or attack me. And I was already bleeding.
Miguel was helped by some passers-by and taken in for medical treatment.
In the past, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department would have handled the incident. But, that isn’t the case with situations like this, nowadays.
“People still call us, expecting those services they had gotten in past years and we have to send them elsewhere,” stated Katheryn Wall, spokesperson for the health department.
But those services to the county were recently reduced because of budget cuts.
“We can’t respond to bites, we can’t respond to complaints or dogs at large,” Wall said. We just don’t have the authority anymore outside those Springfield city limits.”
The county commission eventually had to issue an order for the dogs owner to either: provide proof the animals had their rabies shots; to put the dog in quarantine to observe for rabies symptoms; or to put the dog down so it can be tested for rabies. The commission says the owner of the dog, however, and showed signs of being evasive and non-compliant with the order.
“My frustration is that person not taking this incident so seriously that my life could also be in jeopardy,” said Miguel.
There is no law specifying how long a person has to turn over their dog for testing.
But, for Miguel, time was running out. Individuals bitten by dogs only have a few days to receive the rabies vaccine as a prevention measure Waiting too long results in the risk of the disease setting in. Rabies is fatal to humans.
With no idea if the dogs had rabies, or if he now had rabies, Miguel said he had no choice but get rabies vaccine shots. The regimen included a dozen or so injections, straight into the wounds, and without anesthesia.
“The pain that I went through, it is hard to describe. I will say it is like if someone were injecting acid into your flesh,” explained Miguel.
Miguel said he’s glad his insurance helped out with the $18,000 price tag of the painful shots. He’s just glad it wasn’t worse for him, or someone else.
“It probably would have eaten me alive, I would say- especially how the dog was behaving after the bite and how he was following me,” Miguel stated.”
KY3 tried reaching out to the owner of the dogs, but could not get in touch with her.
Greene County Commissioner Jim Viebrock said, as of Tuesday afternoon, the owner had not confirmed if she had followed the orders.
County leaders say this incident is a big lesson in responsibility for all pet owners, making sure their animals have their rabies vaccinations.