Man bit by dog must find owner or get rabies vaccination - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Man bit by dog must find owner or get expensive, painful rabies vaccination

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Burleson's injury Burleson's injury
Burleson put up this sign at the park, in hopes of finding dog owner Burleson put up this sign at the park, in hopes of finding dog owner

WILMIGNTON, NC (WECT) - A man is desperate to find the owner of the dog that bit him.

It happened Saturday at the dog park at Hugh MacRae.

Tim Burleson tried to pull his dog away while it was fighting with a golden retriever. The retriever bit Burleson.

He asked the dog's owner if it was up to date on its rabies shots; she told him it was. However, Burleson, in a rush to get treatment for his wound, did not get the woman's contact information.

Burleson was treated at Urgent Care. By law, the facility had to inform New Hanover County Animal Control that Burleson was bitten.

Burleson said officials at Animal Control told him they must confirm that the dog that bit him does not have rabies, by monitoring the dog to see if it displays symptoms of rabies.

If Animal Control cannot confirm that the dog does not have the disease, officials at the Health Department told Burleson he must get vaccinated for rabies.

"Rabies is pretty close to being 100% fatal once you start showing symptoms," Burleson said of his conversation with members of the Health Department. "When they talked to me at the Health Department, they basically told me how I am going to die if I contracted rabies."

The treatment can be expensive and painful.

It involves at least 8 shots and could cost Tim around $1,000.

Now, if he can't find the dog's owner, he will likely move forward with getting the vaccine.

"I made two bad decisions, in getting involved and not getting her information," Burleson said. "I don't want my last bad decision to be that I didn't get the rabies vaccination."

There have been more than a dozen cases of rabies in New Hanover County this year. Most involved wild animals.

If you know the owner of the dog, you are asked to call Animal Control at 910-798-7500.

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