Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Meals on Wheels driver injured by dog

CLEARLAKE – Lake County Animal Care and Control is investigating a Wednesday incident in which a dog bit a volunteer Meals on Wheels driver, who required nearly 100 stitches.

Deputy Animal Care and Control Director Bill Davidson said the dog, taken into custody on Thursday morning, is currently in quarantine at the Lakeport shelter.

The dog, said to be a pitbull mix, attacked the female driver as she was delivering a meal to a client at a location in downtown Clearlake off of Lakeshore Drive, according to Linda Blackstone, program coordinator at the Highlands Senior Center.

“It was not our client's dog, it was her neighbor's dog,” said Blackstone.

The dog first bit the driver on the hip, said Blackstone. The woman turned and as she did so the dog let go of her hip and clamped onto her arm. She was then able to pull away, but in doing so a lot of flesh was stripped from her arm.

Blackstone said the dog's owner took the Meals on Wheels driver to St. Helena Hospital-Clearlake, where the injured woman received about 98 stitches. It took two and a half hours to complete the stitching procedure, but surgery wasn't necessary.

The driver is now at home recovering, said Blackstone.

Davidson said the dog will stay at the shelter for at least 10 days, the length of the normal quarantine period. He said shelter staff were able to confirm that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies.

He said Animal Care and Control's investigation is continuing.

“The owners have been completely cooperative with our efforts,” said Davidson.

Whether the dog becomes the focus of a vicious animal abatement it yet to be determined, said Davidson, and will depend on the circumstances.

Blackstone said she reminded her Meals on Wheels drivers to be very careful of dogs in the wake of the Wednesday attack.

The situation also puts into focus a problem for Meals on Wheels drivers: Blackstone said this was the fourth dog bite incident the center's drivers have dealt with in two years.

“It's getting to be too much,” she said.

That's led them to start looking for pepper spray for protection, said Blackstone. The center also plans to send out letters to its clients asking them to contain any dogs they may have.

“We don't want to have to deny anyone services,” said Blackstone.

People who have elderly neighbors who receive Meals on Wheels services also are asked to please keep their animals secured. In doing so, they'll protect drivers and make sure the critical nutritional services to seniors aren't interrupted.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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