Rhonda Riley, who lives two blocks north of Lincoln Highway on Eighth Street in Nevada, is still emotional about what her 5-year-old dog, Daisy, went through this week.
Daisy, a bright-eyed and loving Jack Russell, who weighs only 11-and-a-half pounds, was attacked in Riley’s yard by two much bigger dogs that were running loose.
It happened Tuesday (July 30) about 1 p.m. Riley was inside cleaning windows and Daisy, who Riley said loves being outside, was on a tie-out in the back yard. “I didn’t hear fighting, just all of a sudden I heard Daisy screaming. It was a high-pitched sound, and I could sense she was in agony.”
Riley hit the back door so fast it slammed and when she saw the attack she screamed so loud that the attacking dogs fled to the north.
“I was screaming at Jeff (her husband, who couldn’t help much because he’s healing from a broken leg and arm at this time). It all happened so fast,” she said, remembering that she somehow got Daisy into the porch. “I got my vet clinic on the phone and said, ‘How do I get her there?’”
Daisy’s back right hindquarter, just above her leg was gaping open. LeAnn Hazen, the vet tech at Story County Veterinary Clinic, advised wrapping the dog tightly in a blanket, even covering her head. Riley did so. “She still bit me twice while I was getting her into the car. She was screaming horribly and my heart was just pounding. I really didn’t know if she’d make it.”
She drove with one hand and held her dog with the other to the clinic, which is near Ames off Highway 30.
“They were horrified,” she said of Hazen and veterinarian Kim Houlding’s expressions when they first saw Daisy. “She was still hyper-ventilating, so they gave her an injection and finally, she calmed down and we could uncover her face.”
Immediately, they took the dog in for surgery.
For two days, Daisy stayed at the vet clinic, and Riley said they couldn’t believe how well she was responding to surgery. On Friday, back at home, Daisy has staples, stitches and two drainage tubes to contend with, and her head is in a cone. But the dog is back to her loving spirit and being closely watched over by Riley, who loves all of her little dogs. Daisy is joined at home by Nico, 13, a mix; Ace, 11, a Jack Russell Terrier; and Ceasar, 10, a toy poodle. “They told me at the vet clinic that if it had been any of my other dogs, they probably wouldn’t have survived the attack, because they’d have tried to fight back. Daisy isn’t a fighter.”
Daisy belonged to a friend of Riley’s, who became ill with cancer and wanted her to have a good home. Riley adopted Daisy from the friend, who is no longer living. “She gets lots of love here,” confirmed Riley, who met the friend when she was working at Cyclone Truck Stop. Now retired, Riley worked at the former Ames restaurant from 2001 up until it closed in 2007. “I made lots of friends there. I just loved that job.”
Riley has been in touch with the city of Nevada’s Community Service Officer Nancy Pritchard several times since the attack. “She has been very cooperative and really seems to care,” said Riley. Pritchard even went with Riley to Story County Veterinary Clinic to see Daisy.
Pritchard has been looking into this matter, but only has Riley’s description to go on. Riley said she knows the dogs were German Shepherds and one had the standard coloring of a German Shepherd, but it was a darker shade; the other, she said, was so much darker that it almost looked black. It had a little bit of white in its tail. “I had never seen them before,” she said, and as of last Friday, she hadn’t seen them again.
Truly a dog lover, this is where Riley gets emotional about the two dogs that attacked Daisy. “If the right thing is done, they could be put down,” she said with tears streaming from her eyes. “But their owner did them an injustice; it’s so unfair. They needed to be at home, contained. You have to keep your dogs home where they’re safe, because if they’re safe, the public’s safe.”
Pritchard can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep dogs contained and on leashes. “Dogs need to be restrained for their protection, as well as the protection of the public and other animals. A dog on the loose can be dangerous, even if it is a friendly dog. It can cause unintended traffic accidents, bite folks or attack other restrained dogs,” she said.
If your dog gets out unintentionally, Pritchard said it’s imperative that you call the Nevada Police Department and report it, “so that we can be aware of it.” And if people are out and about and see a dog running loose, she advises, call the police at our non-emergency number, 515-382-4305, and report it. “Do not approach it, unless you are familiar with the dog. Keep an eye on what direction the dog travels.”
In many cases, Pritchard said, owners are out looking for dogs that get loose. “But if not, we can take them to the vet, where they will be provided care.”
Rather than be put down, it is Riley’s hope that, if found, these two German Shepherds can be removed from their current home and placed where they’ll be retrained and cared for. She truly doesn’t want to see them put down.
If anyone in the public can help identify who these dogs belong to, you are asked to call the Nevada Police Department. For one thing, the two dogs’ owners will be responsible for the veterinary bill that Riley doesn’t yet know the amount of.
No matter what the amount, she said, she had to seek care for Daisy, and she’ll pay that bill off in payments if no one else is held accountable. She also will likely start a GoFundMe page, with all donations going directly to Story County Veterinary Clinic in the near future.
“It will be Daisy’s fund,” she said. She’s just super-thankful for the care Daisy received and that Daisy is expected to make a full recovery.