Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Sparky mending in wake of attack


Clifton guide dog bitten by boxer

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

CLIFTON - Sparky, the guide dog attacked by another dog more than a week ago, is doing just fine. His master says thanks for the carrots.

Sparky is the yellow Labrador guide dog attacked here by a mixed-breed boxer 10 days ago while leading his master, Ted Chism. Since that day, the retiree said, he has been pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support for him and the dog - countless cards, calls and e-mails. Three well-wishers even dropped by with bags of carrots - Sparky's favorite treat since he was a pup.

"I guess I never thought that this many people would care," said Chism, who is legally blind.

Chism had worried the attack would make Sparky too skittish to work as his "eyes."

While the dog still is a little lethargic and became distracted Monday when he encountered another dog, Sparky made it to St. John's Unitarian Church on Sunday without a problem. Sparky has also escorted Chism at least once daily on shopping trips along Ludlow Avenue.

The dog is not taking painkillers anymore, but he still needs antibiotics for three more days. The dog that bit Sparky was not a pit bull, as authorities first suspected, said Andy Mahlman of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The agency sent a veterinarian and field supervisor to the house where the other dog lived, he said, and they determined the dog was a boxer mix.

The dog's owner, Sharon Knaff, 44, also of Clifton, faces one count of failure to confine a dangerous dog. The maximum possible punishment is six months in jail.

Sparky will get more attention Saturday at East Fork Lake, where he'll be honored as part of a celebration of working dogs.

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E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com




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