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Rabies treatment begins for dog bite victim

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Sep 14 2012 06:27:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 14 2012 07:40:37 PM CDT

Pit bull and owner haven't been found since Labor Day attack.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

A Labor Day pit bull attack has become a matter of life and death for its victim.

John Castle, 77, has begun receiving rabies treatment because the dog that bit him hasn't been found and tested for rabies.  Castle said the treatment is painful and costly, but necessary because rabies is usually fatal if not treated before symptoms appear.

"It's a very difficult thing to adjust to because I don't sleep well at all because of very bad thoughts, discomfort and pain," said Castle.

Castle said he is about halfway through a series of five treatments which include shots around his infected leg and mangled hand, which required reconstructive surgery.

The dog and its owner disappeared after the attack near the intersection of Pikes Peak Avenue and Institute Street.  The Humane Society has made finding the two a top priority, assigning several officers to the case.  It was hoped the dog would be found before Castle's rabies treatment began.

The attack happened in front of the Homewood Pointe Apartments, one of several locations where the dog's owner is believed to be hiding. 

KRDO NewsChannel 13 visited one unit of the complex where the dog owner supposedly is living with his girlfriend.  A woman who answered the door denied that was the case.

However, a neighbor speaking anonymously said she has seen the dog owner and the pit bull there.

"(They) go inside and out all the time," said the neighbor.  "He does seem suspicious living there.  Maybe he's not supposed to be.  He was apprehensive to tell me he lived there.  Now that I know the pit bull has bitten somebody, I have a small child so it does bring the concern up a notch."

Castle said he plans to show city leaders how much, as a Medicare patient, taxpayers will bear for the cost of his medical care because a dangerous pet.  He said he's not angry at the dog's owner, partly because the owner tried to restrain the dog.

"The cover-up is always worse that the crime," said Castle.  "What he's really doing is taking from his own soul.  He needs to come to grips with that." 

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