ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO - There is outrage in the animal rescue community after a dog found on the brink of death and frozen to a sidewalk in St. Louis is euthanized days later.
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health says in a statement Tuesday that the dog bit a Veterinary Specialty Services staff member. Faust, a 6-year-old female pit bull was then tested for rabies. The dog showed multiple signs of the disease. They say the dog was stumbling and suffering. The dog was euthanized, according to protocol. The person who was bitten is receiving medical attention at the hospital and will require rabies test and possibly treatment.
Over the weekend, Fox 2 told you about the rescue of a Faust, a 6-year-old dog named after the mail carrier who found her and called Stray Rescue for help.
"Her temperature was so low it wasn't even reading," said Natalie Thomson, Director of Marketing for Stray Rescue.
Thomson said Faust was comatose and needed more extensive care, so they took her to Veterinary Specialty Services (VSS) in Manchester for round the clock care. Thomson said Saturday morning they got good news - Faust woke up.
"We rushed out there, and we looked in her eyes, and we kissed her and told her just how many people were praying for her," said Thomson.
Posts on social media following Faust's rescue raised more than $10,000 towards her care. Thomson said they continued to get positive progress updates over the weekend. Monday (Feb. 11), they received another good update, and Thomson thought Faust might return to Stray Rescue the same day.
Hours later, Faust was dead.
Stray Rescue founder Randy Grim posted an emotional update to social media Monday evening letting people know VSS notified them Faust bit a veterinary technician. Faust was euthanized at St. Louis County Animal Care and Control the same day.
"I don't know why it happened so fast," said Thomson.
Spring Schmidt, Interim Director for St. Louis County Department of Public Health, said Faust was initially brought to St. Louis County Animal Care and Control along with a bite report by VSS for a 10-day quarantine hold. Missouri law and St. Louis County ordinance requires all dogs who have bit someone to be quarantined for rabies observation for a minimum of 10 days unless signs of neurological defects indicate rabies and in that case, the animal should be euthanized.
"Once VSS brought us the, brought Faust to us, the responsibility became ours," said Schmidt.
Schmidt said they immediately observed Faust and found a number of "significant issues."
According to Schmidt, Faust could not lift herself up, she was unable to walk, swayed back and forth, and had inappropriate neurological responses to stimuli. She said these are signs Faust could have been infected with rabies.
Two veterinarians at St. Louis County Animal Care and Control observed Faust, Schmidt said, then they consulted with Dr. Pue, Missouri Public Health Veterinarian, who agreed with their assessment.
"We are required by state law, by the ordinances of St. Louis County, to euthanize the animal," said Schmidt.
Missouri statute and St. Louis County ordinance prohibit the transfer of an animal with potential rabies to any other facility or rescue which is why they could not transfer Faust back to Stray Rescue for continued care.
Schmidt said it is possible the symptoms Faust was experiencing were a result of the previous trauma she went through, but there was no way to tell for sure. Schmidt said the only way to test whether an animal has rabies is to send the animal's brain and brain stem to the state laboratory for testing.
Thomson said Faust was micro-chipped in September 2015, and it was linked to St. Louis City Animal Control. She said it is likely Faust was vaccinated around the same time.
Schmidt said the vet tech who was bitten was taken to the hospital for treatment and will require follow-up on rabies protocol.
Fox 2 reached out to VSS for comment but did not hear back.
Grim and the Stray Rescue team plan to host a press conference about this story Tuesday at 1 p.m.
The St. Louis County Department of Health issued this statement about this story to clarify some details.