A Crescent City woman is recovering at UC Davis Medical Center from serious injuries suffered when attacked by a dog in an area frequented by the homeless persons.
Emma Young faces skin graft surgery after the dog bit off part of her arm during repeated attacks.
Young said she was going to visit a homeless relative known to stay in the wooded area behind the Jedediah Smith Shopping Center on Feb. 8. Upon leaving her vehicle in an open area, Young got out of her car and locked her doors before seeing a large pit bull type dog charging her, she said.
Young said she acted out of fear and instinct when she jutted her arm out and tried to order the dog back.
“He jumped up and locked onto my arm,” she said. “When I shook to get the dog off, part of my arm came off with it.” She said the dog attacked again, biting her arm and her abdomen.
“I think if he hadn’t already had part of my arm in his mouth, the other bites would have been much worse.”
Young said her brother heard her screaming for help and came to her aid as the owner of the dog called it back.
“When I saw the look on my brother’s face, I realized it was serious,” she said. “He was taking off his sweater to wrap around my arm.”
She said her brother drove her to Sutter Coast Hospital where she was immediately prepared for transport to the medical center in Davis. Young said she filed a report with the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office from the hospital.
Undersheriff Bill Steven said the report was documented and forwarded to Animal Control, a division of the county agriculture department, which enforces vicious dog ordinances.
Inspector Justin Riggs with the Department of Agriculture/ Weights and Measures said the owner of the dog was contacted Monday and the dog was quarantined at the shelter. Mandatory quarantines last 10 days.
Riggs guessed the breed of the dog to be a pit bull/mastiff cross.
“Yeah, he’s a big fella,” Riggs said. “Just eyeballing him, I’d say he’s about 85 pounds.”
Riggs said the dog is under a mandatory quarantine to observe his behavior and monitor him for signs of rabies. He said the dog cannot be tested for rabies as that procedure involves removing an animal’s head.
Riggs said staff has been caring for the dog and has reported no problems. He added staff does not take quarantined animals for walks or onto the shelter grounds, but keeps them inside a small kennel for the duration of the quarantine.
Asked of the dog has been held by Animal Control before, Riggs said a search of records by the owner’s name turned up no results. He said if that had been the case, the owner would have had to license the dog in order to get it back, and that has not been done recently.
Young said she doesn’t know yet if she would be filing charges or seeking restitution for hospital costs. She said she also does not know the name of the dog’s owner.
“I think it’s someone homeless,” she said, “so it would probably be squeezing blood from a turnip.”
She said she has been in Davis since the attack and doctors have kept her on pain medications as she waited for skin graft surgery Wednesday.
“Considering the situation, I’m the best I can be,” she said.
Riggs said he couldn’t answer if the dog will be released back to the owner until an investigation is completed. He said he has not seen photos of Young’s injuries or spoken with her.
The quarantine ends for the dog on Feb. 19.