News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Doctor seeks dog from biting incident

The doctor treating the man who was bitten by a loose dog on the Peterson Ridge Trail at the south end of Sisters on March 25, is hoping the owner of the dog comes forward.

Without knowing the history of the dog, the victim is left with worries about possible disease.

Dr. Eric Wattenburg told The Nugget last weekend that, while the possibility of rabies is remote, it is a looming concern as long as the status of the dog involved remains in question.

Dr. Wattenburg said that in cases where a dog who has bitten a person is identified, it can be quarantined for a period of 10 days and its behavior observed to warn of any sign of rabies.

“Or,” he said, “if you have evidence that the dog’s been vaccinated, it’s pretty much case closed.”

With the dog’s identity and status unknown, the bite victim is faced with a decision whether to pursue treatment on a preventative basis. And that treatment is unpleasant and expensive.

“It’s thousands of dollars, risky injections,” Dr. Wattenburg said. “It’s multiple injections over many different weeks.”

Dr. Wattenburg noted that rabies can lie dormant in a person for weeks, months or even years, and once it is established, it’s fatal.

“This is very serious and it can be life-threatening,” he said.

The Sisters man was reportedly running on the trail when a medium-sized black dog ran past him and bit him on the calf. According to an account provided by a friend of the runner, the man fell to the ground and threw rocks at the dog to scare it off.

Two women described as being in their 50s to 60s approached and according to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. William Bailey, “were not cooperative with providing information” to the victim. One woman was wearing a dark coat, the other a white coat. The runner did not have a mobile phone with which to take photos.

The victim reported that he was bitten a second time as he turned to run back down the trail.

Bailey told The Nugget that, according to the victim’s report, “There was a verbal confrontation between them and the dog bite victim. One of the women (pulled) out a taser-type device and pointed it at him and told him he needed to ‘get the (expletive) out of here’.”

The runner contacted the sheriff’s office and deputies responded to investigate. Bailey said that deputies confirmed that the runner exhibited two dog bites, one of which broke the skin.

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the identity of the women and the dog involved.

Dr. Wattenburg hopes that the dog owner will come forward so that the question of the dog’s health status can be resolved and the bite victim’s health concerns can either be addressed or put to rest.

As of Monday, April 13, the dog owner had not yet been identified.

Anyone with information who can help deputies located and contact the women involved is asked to call the non-emergency dispatch line at 541-693-6911.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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