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Authorities look for dog that bit boy at Saguaro National Park

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Posted at 8:04 AM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 00:35:46-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - National Park Service staffers are looking for a dog that bit a 6-year-old boy on Douglas Spring Trail in Saguaro National Park at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Fawn Manuel says she and her son, Darryl were walking by a couple with a German Shepherd-like dog around 4 p.m.

"When he saw the dog, he asked the owner if he could pet the dog," Manuel said. "It happened all in seconds. That dog reached out and bit my son on the hand, and my son instantly started screaming."

Manuel says blood was everywhere. She rushed Darryl to Tucson Medical Center.

Park staff are now looking for the dog and the owner, to ensure the animal is not rabid. Unless the dog is found within 8 days and the owner provides vaccination records, the child will need to be given rabies treatment, officials say.

Chief Park Ranger Ray O'Neil says the family can possibly avoid unnecessary medical treatment if the owner comes forward.

"If you let it go too long, then it can be very serious," O'Neil said. "And even though there's only a slight chance that the dog was rabid or had some other issues. If we can't prove it did not, then the boy has to go forward with treatment.

Dogs aren't allowed in national parks, but O'Neil says that's not the main concern.

"But for us, the most important thing isn't catching the person that had a dog on a trail, it's getting the boy treated."

Those with information should 520-733-5129.