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No rabies detected in dog that bit Cape child

By Staff | Mar 13, 2010

A Rottweiler that was euthanized after biting and injuring an 8-year-old Cape Coral boy Monday did not have rabies, according to officials.
Nathaniel Hernandez, of 420 S.W. 28th Place, was playing in the backyard of a home at 403 S.W. 28th Place when the dog broke through a screen patio and ran out into the yard at about 3:45 p.m. Kristen Alvarez, the owner of the Rottweiler, did not know it had broken out until she heard screams.
According to a report from the Cape Coral Police Department, Alvarez went outside and brought Nathaniel inside. She then went down the street and got Amy Hernandez, Nathaniel’s mother. The boy was taken to the Lee Memorial Hospital by ambulance and the extent of his injuries were unknown.
“She was pretty frantic,” Hernandez said of Alvarez.
The Rottweiler, Rocky, had bitten Nathaniel in the abdomen and inner thigh, Hernandez said. The child had two punctures to the abdomen and one to the inner thigh of his right leg. EMS took the boy to Lee Memorial Hospital because it houses the health system’s pediatric unit, she explained.
“We had to go to Lee Memorial because they had thought that the bite to his abdomen, that it had punctured his intestines,” Hernandez said.
She added that the wounds came close.
“He came within a hairline, literally a strand of hair, from puncturing his intestines,” Hernandez said Friday. “He still has the staples in.”
According to the report, Nathaniel was playing in backyard with Alvarez’s 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son when the incident occurred. Rocky ran toward the children and bit Nathaniel, the girl told police. She tried to pull the dog off Nathaniel while she screamed for her mother. Rocky moved back and laid down in the dirt when Alvarez came outside.
Lee County Animal Services responded to the home. Field Operations Manager Adam Leath said the family surrendered custody of the dog, and it was later euthanized. Test results received Friday show Rocky did not have rabies.
“I didn’t really think the dog had rabies to begin with,” Hernandez said. “It was a concern of mine, but it wasn’t a really large concern because we know the dog, and both of my sons have played around the dog numerous times.”
“We knew he was up to date on his shots and vaccines and such,” she said.
Hernandez has a 9-year-old son, CJ Trammell. Her husband and the boys’ father, Hector Hernandez, is serving overseas with the Army National Guard. He left Feb. 25 for a one-year deployment. His was first deployed in 2002.
Hernandez said Alvarez and her family are great people.
“I look at them as some very standup individuals. The little girl, when animal control was there, she said, ‘I don’t want the dog back,'” she said.
“I want everyone to know that those people, that family, is just as devastated as my son is and as we are,” Hernandez said.
She added that Alvarez and her family dropped by Tuesday with baked goods and wished Nathaniel a speedy recovery.
“They have done everything but sweep our floors,” Hernandez said.
According to Leath, there have been 174 total exposures to people recorded for 2010 by the Lee County Animal Services. Rabies exposures can be scratches or bites from either owned animals or stray animals.
No animals have tested positive for rabies so far this year. Only bats tested positive for rabies in 2009, Leath said. It has been a few years since a dog or cat tested positive for rabies in Lee County.