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Police seek man after dog bite incident

Jenni Galligan heard a man screaming behind her and turned in time to see a large dog charging at her. Galligan had just enough time to scoop up her small shih tzu when the other dog, a bullmastiff, clamped his jaws around the flesh in her upper arm.

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The bullmastiff clamped his jaws around the flesh in her upper arm. The attack left Jenni Galligan with two gashes, extensive bruising and required 19 stitches. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

Jenni Galligan heard a man screaming behind her and turned in time to see a large dog charging at her.

Galligan had just enough time to scoop up her small shih tzu when the other dog, a bullmastiff, clamped his jaws around the flesh in her upper arm. The result left Galligan with two gashes and extensive bruising. Now Brainerd police are looking for the bullmastiff and its owner, who fled the scene.

Galligan was walking with her dog, Harvey, in Lum Park on Sunday afternoon when the bullmastiff dog rushed at her and bit her. Galligan, 42, had been walking in the park for a short time when she passed by a man kneeling next to the bullmastiff. She asked if the dog was friendly. From the man's position, she wasn't sure if the dog was on a leash. She said the man told her he wasn't sure as he just got the dog as a rescue. Galligan, an assistant veterinary technician at Lakeland Veterinary Hospital in Baxter, has worked with animals for 20 years. She estimated the bullmastiff was about 150 pounds. After speaking to the man, Galligan said she turned to continue her walk giving the large dog a wide berth.

She was about 30 yards away when she heard the man scream behind her. She thought his voice sounded surprised. She is convinced the bullmastiff was intent on attacking her 17-pound dog. With the size difference, she thought the bullmastiff could kill her dog.

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The attack left Galligan with she required 19 stitches . Her upper arm is extensively bruised with two drainage tubes extending from the bite wound.

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"All I thought was to grab my dog," Galligan said. "After that it's kind of a bit of a blur."

Galligan dropped down into a ball to protect her small dog. She remembers the man grabbing the bullmastiff by the scruff of its neck. Onlookers in the park came to her aid and called 911.

"In the midst of it - I can't believe he even took off," Galligan said of the man. "He was just gone."

Brainerd Police were called around 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The police department reported Galligan suffered two serious injuries to her upper right arm area as a result of the dog bite.

Witnesses in the park told police after the attack happened, the male with the dog pulled the dog off and then said he was going to his truck to get a phone. The unknown male put the dog in his truck and then drove away before anyone could get his name or the license number of the vehicle, the police department reported.

The attack left Galligan with 19 stitches and mounting medical bills.

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She was treated at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd for these injuries and released about five hours later. She returned to the hospital at 11:30 p.m. with extensive bleeding and was released at 2 a.m. Galligan will most likely require follow-up medical treatment due to the seriousness of these injuries, the police department noted. She also missed work and will be on limited duty when she returns.

Because the man left the scene, it was unknown if the dog had its rabies vaccination. As a result, Galligan's undergone the beginning of a series of rabies shots with needles going right into the dog bite wound. She had eight shots and has to go back three more times. Her upper arm is extensively bruised with two drainage tubes extending from the bite wound.

"I just want him to be accountable for what he did and the dog probably needs to be destroyed before it does this to somebody else," Galligan said.

Galligan's sister Jasmine Winkelman, who drove to Lum Park and helped her sister after the attack, said if the roles were reversed she would probably have a difficult time going back to work with dogs.

"I would probably be afraid of dogs for the rest of my life," Winkelman said. But her sister is strong and always has been a dog lover, Winkelman said.

Galligan wiped tears from her cheeks as she recounted the ordeal, wondering how worse it could have been if her nephews had been with her, if a child had been walking a dog instead of an adult, or if someone unfamiliar with dogs tried to run when the dog charged instead of taking cover.

"I think I'm still kind of in shock," Galligan said. "It really hasn't sunk in yet. So much has happened in the last 25 hours. It's kind of unreal."

Police are looking for a thin white male, approximately 20 to 25 in age with blond hair. The vehicle he was driving is described as a silver Chevrolet or GMC possibly a 2000-2005 model year without a topper. The dog was described as a Brindle-colored bullmastiff. Anyone with additional information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Brainerd Police Department at 218-829-2805.

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RENEE RICHARDSON, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .

Jenni Galligan wipes a tear while explaining the dog attack she sustained Sunday while walking her dog in Lum Park in Brainerd. When Galligan saw the dog running at her and the owner screaming, she grabbed her little dog, Harvey to protect him from the bullmastiff and the rest is a blur. (Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls) Gallery and Video
Jenni Galligan wipes a tear while explaining the dog attack she sustained Sunday while walking her dog in Lum Park in Brainerd. When Galligan saw the dog running at her and the owner screaming, she grabbed her little dog, Harvey to protect him from the bullmastiff and the rest is a blur. (Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls) Gallery and Video

Related Topics: LUM PARK
Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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