Two people have been bitten by stray dogs that have been roaming the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol, prompting workers to post signs near building exits warning everyone to exercise “extreme caution” in the area.
The latest dog bite came Friday afternoon outside of the Will Rogers Building in the Capitol complex, said Capt. George Brown, of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which provides security for the Capitol. He didn’t have the name of the woman who was bitten or details of the wound, other than that it broke the skin.
Oklahoma City Animal Control officers used a tranquilizer dart to try to capture one dog in the area Friday, but the animal escaped before the tranquilizer took effect. It’s not clear whether this dog bit anyone. A dog was captured in a cage in the area Tuesday, but it does not look like the one that bit a woman in the first incident on June 4.
Deidra Horan, 64, of Englewood, Colo., was the first one bitten. She was attacked as she neared the end of a trip in which she visited seven state capitols.
“I'm standing on the sidewalk looking around when four large dogs appeared,” she said.
“I remained as calm as I could, slowly trying to back away to see if I could somehow break away so I could run,” she said. “About that time, one of the dogs bit me on the right buttock. Now I’m petrified and I began screaming as loud as I could, hoping someone would hear me.”
She managed to make it back to a building entrance, where a security officer helped her. The dogs ran away and couldn’t be found.
She was treated at the scene for the dog bite and went to a local medical office to receive further treatment.
“We’ve never heard of anything like this happening before,” Brown said.
Horan said she was given a tetanus shot in Oklahoma City after the bite. After she returned home to Colorado, she sought further medical care and has been undergoing a series of rabies shots.
John Gary, unit operations supervisor for Oklahoma City Animal Control, said his officers have been patrolling the Capitol grounds every day since she was bitten.
Horan, a retired teacher who wants to visit every state capitol before she turns 70, said her goal is to boost public awareness of her incident so that others may be warned of a potential hazard.
Horan said she’s also concerned about the costs she has incurred. She expects to pay several thousand dollars for the rabies injections.
“I’m emotionally drained,” she said. “I have never been so frightened. Honestly, I thought I would be killed.”
Gary said there are a few thousand dog bite reports every year in the city. In cases where the dog can’t be found, daily patrols are typical for at least 10 days in the area where the incident occurred.
Animal Control supervisor Wendy Pearson urged everybody who works around the Capitol not to feed stray dogs. Traps baited with food are being placed in the area.