September 11, 2015
Search is on for dog that bit child in Waves
By IRENE NOLAN
Hatteras National Seashore law enforcement rangers are looking for a
dog that bit a 2-year-old boy in the face on the beach in Waves about
noon on Thursday.
According to Tim Havens, NPS acting chief ranger, Cape Hatteras
National Seashore officials are being assisted by Dare County Animal
Control and the Dare County Sheriff's Office as they search for the dog.
The male dog was described by witnesses as brown, possibly a shepherd
mix, medium size -- 50-plus pounds -- not wearing a collar. The
dog possibly is known by the name, "Taco."
"We don't know if it's a stray dog or someone's pet," Havens said.
He added that some witnesses said the dog had been seen on the beach on
and off during the week and was possibly wearing a collar earlier in
Dare County Emergency Medical Services responded to the call, but
Havens said the family preferred to transport the child themselves to
the emergency room of a local hospital. From there, the child was
transported to Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk,
Va., for further evaluation.
Havens said he had no update on the child's condition.
Dogs off-leash are prohibited on the seashore, and the Park Service had
just issued a news release a few weeks ago reminding locals and
visitors of the policy.
"Cape Hatteras National Seashore staff asks for visitors’ cooperation
in protecting wildlife and other visitors by observing leash laws and
by cleaning up after your pets," the release said.
Federal regulations in the national seashore require that dogs be
crated, caged, on a six-foot leash, or otherwise under physical
restraint. During the summer months, dogs are prohibited on designated
swimming beaches, such as Coquina Beach, Buxton Beach or the Ocracoke
Day Use area.
Recent observations of dogs off-leash in the seashore have resulted in verbal and written warnings and citations.
"Unleashed dogs are known to have serious impacts on park wildlife and
can be a nuisance or threat to other visitors while enjoying the
beach,” Superintendent David Hallac said in the release. “This is
an issue that we take very seriously, especially now in our high
visitation period and during wildlife nesting season.”
Park rangers can ticket dog owners $125 for each unleashed dog and $125
for each dog entering a posted closure for first offenses. Repeated
offenders could face up to a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or six months
Tampering with threatened and endangered species or their habitat
requires a mandatory appearance in federal court with possible fines of
$25,000 and incarceration of five years. Threatened and
endangered species nesting at Cape Hatteras include both shorebirds and
Park visitors also need protection from roaming dogs," the park said in
the release. "Not everyone welcomes a strange, wet dog charging up to
them or their small children while swimming or walking on the
beach. Many children and adults are afraid of unfamiliar
dogs. Even a 'friendly' dog that 'would never bite' can act
unpredictably towards strangers."
If you have any information about the dog in this week's incident,
please call the Park Service's main number at 252-473-2111 and leave a
voicemail after office hours or during the weekend. You can also send a
tweet to @CapeHatterasNPS.