Creek County Man Left With Injuries, Bills After Dog Attack
CREEK COUNTY, Oklahoma - Stray dogs are a big problem in rural Oklahoma where people go to dump unwanted animals - and there's not a lot those counties can do about it.
Richard Reeder was walking his dog here the woods, something he does every day. All of a sudden he says a dog came running at them, first going at his dog and then him.
Four-year-old Barney, Reeder's pet, is standing his ground now, but a few days ago he almost lost his life when another dog attacked them.
Reeder tried to keep Barney safe.
"He came and tried to get my dog, and I picked him up," Reeder said. "He went for the dog, and my hand just happened to be there - and he got through there and bit through the finger," Reeder said.
"I couldn't hold the dog anymore, and then he grabbed the dog out of my arm and took him down."
His neighbor heard the commotion.
"He stunned the dog and got him away and he took off east," the injured man said.
Reeder had a a huge gash in his hand, and Barney had been bit near his back leg. Reeder called the Creek County Sheriff's office and was told to try and catch the dog, which he did.
Not long after, he says a deputy came by his house.
"We thought when they came out they would take the dog away. No, they won't. It's our responsibility to take the dog to the nearest facility and have them quarantined for 10 days," Reeder said.
He paid $300 to quarantine the dog and test it for rabies - that's on top of his and Barney's medical bills. If an owner doesn't come forward, Reeder will have no choice but to pay to have the stray dog euthanized.
The Sheriff's Office says it's because of a state law, which only assigns an animal control officer to counties with a population of over 250,000. So if you live outside city limits, chances are you'll be in the same situation.
"Why should the person who got bit by the stray dog that no one claims, why should we have the responsibility?" Reeder asked.
The Creek County Sheriff's Office says they wish there was more they could do, but right now their hands are tied because of this law. Until that changes, it's up to the victim to figure out how to handle it.