PALM HARBOR, Fla — A local teen was sent to a nearby hospital after he says a dog bit him.
“It was very painful,” Alex Lewis said over Facetime. He was admitted to Mease Countryside Monday for fever and infection after he says he was attacked by a dog last week.
"He just like bear hugged me and then just bit me,” Lewis said.
He and his friend were about to go for a run down Village Center Drive in Palm Harbor Wednesday when he says an older man with a large white or cream colored dog came towards them on the sidewalk.
DOG BITE! 👇🏻 CHECK out the marks in pictures below 👇🏻 A Palm Harbor/Eastlake teen says he was bitten by a dog last Wednesday and the owner just walked away. ALL NEW AT 6 on @abcactionnews why the teen is now in the hospital and are asking the public for help. pic.twitter.com/YVbiwZXMsV
— HeatherLeighWFTS (@HLeighWFTS) October 30, 2018
"I thought he was just jumping up on me like some dogs do when they are playful,” he said.
Instead, he says the dog latched on to the side of his stomach
"There are multiple puncture marks on his side and it’s all bruised,” said Alex’s mom, Jennifer Lewis.
Alex’s parents say he has to get rabies shots and painful therapy to help fight off infection. But they say what really concerns them is that the owner never stopped to help.
"I don’t blame the dog, I blame the owner,” Lewis said. "It’s irresponsible ownership. If he had better control of his dog, he should’ve shown some concern when the dog hurt my son."
Animal control officials say when a dog bites a human they are held in quarantine for 10 days to watch for rabies and then an investigation determines if the dog is declared dangerous.
If it is, it must wear a muzzle on walks and have a dangerous dog tag on its collar. They also must put up signs on their home that warns others. The owner and dog are also given yearly inspections by animal control officers.
"I’m not trying to get anybody in trouble, I just want to make sure the dog is healthy and make sure the dog has its shots,” said Lewis.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and animal control are patrolling the subdivision for the owner and dog. Alex’s parents are asking anyone who knows the dog or the owner to please contact deputies right away.