Midlothian resident Paul Ferguson was on his routine afternoon bike ride when a loose dog quickly changed his pace and route.

May 12 on Campbell Road near Highway 157 outside Maypearl when a dog came running.

"It came out of that yards at full stride," said Ferguson of the encounter on May 12 along Campbell Road near Highway 157. "It didn't slow down a bit. It ran alongside me for 10 seconds, and it wasn't barking, and its ears were pinned back."

According to Ferguson, a fence had washed away due to recent rainfall, which allowed for the nearly 70-pound dog to get out of its yard. With its ears pinned to his head, Ferguson said he knew the dog was in "attack mode."

"It was game on," he explained.

The dog first rammed into Ferguson's bike as he tried to pedal away. Luckily, Ferguson managed to stay on and begin peddling away.

For about half the next mile, the dog continuously attempted to bite Ferguson's hip, maneuvering right and left as he peddled. The dog eventually managed to bite into Ferguson's right hip, leaving a few puncture wounds and a tear. Ferguson then grabbed his water bottle and dumped the contents on it to distract it long enough to get away.

"It was trying to get me on the ground," Ferguson said, noting the water was the only defense he had against the dog. He also explained that, typically, he travels with pepper spray, but he got distracted on his way out the door and left it at home.

Ferguson called 911 after he was a safe distance away from the dog and only after he saw the animal trotting back home in the distance. The Ellis County Sheriff's Office was then dispatched to the area with its animal control unit.

According to Ellis County Sgt. Joe Fitzgerald, the sheriff's office responds to any call outside of the city limits. He noted the department's animal control unit responds to any instances involving dog bites, loose livestock and other animal complaints.

This was not the first case for animal control regarding a dog bite, either. Fitzgerald said the department has already handled 54 cases in 2019 and typically manages about 100 a year.

If an animal bite occurs, the department ensures the person receives medical attention and attempts to locate the owner so the animal can be taken to the veterinarian, Fitzgerald explained.

After an owner is found, a report is written and the animal will be put under a 10-day quarantine for observation. The department notifies the victim and the owners when the animal is released but only after it is deemed safe.

There is also currently no county ordinance in regards to loose animals, so legal action cannot be taken against the owners if a dog is loose, Fitzgerald added. The only way for action to be taken beyond animal control is through the civil court system.

Ferguson was taken to a nearby hospital after the bite, where he received six rounds of rabies shots directly into the wound. He is unsure of what will happen next regarding his medical bills.

The dog that bit Ferguson has since been returned to its owners.

Ferguson said he wants people to be aware that some dogs are dangerous.

"If that was a little kid or a lady, they would have been in serious trouble. I was worried about getting down on the ground," he said. "That dog had one mission in mind."


Samantha Douty, @SamanthaDouty