Reporting Kate Raddatz
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Seven-year-old Riley Gallagher was cheering on racers crossing the finish line at the YWCA Women’s Triathlon Sunday at Lake Nokomis, when the fun ended in an instant.
At first, Riley’s mother, Helen Gallagher, thought her son was just excited.
“I heard screaming and he lives with Asperger’s, and I turned around because I thought maybe he was having a meltdown,” Helen said. “And then he’s like, ‘That dog bit me,’” Helen said.
A pit bull had attacked Riley.
“Just a big gaping wound on the back of his left thigh,” Helen said.
Riley’s dad, Shawn Gallagher, rushed his son off to the emergency tent and he yelled out to the dog’s owner, asking if it had been vaccinated for rabies.
“We took him to the tent and then two minutes later I went back to where we were and they were gone,” Shawn said.
Race organizers made an announcement to find the dog’s owners, but no one came forward.
Riley was taken to St. John’s Hospital where he spent five hours getting treatment for his puncture wounds, including several rabies shots.
“He likes to have his cheek right next to your cheek and telling him a story and not looking,” Helen said. “It was very, pretty scary,” Helen said.
Riley’s parents say they don’t want anything to happen to the dog – they just want answers.
“I want them to come forward and say ‘Hey, we think this is us, we have paper work that says the dog was vaccinated so your son doesn’t need any more shots,’” Shawn said.
Riley loves the medal he received after the race, and he says he still loves dogs, as does his family.
“We are dog lovers, we have a dog. And this dog was a pit bull, and I have nothing against pit bulls,” Helen said. “It’s to come forward and help our son and to help other future people that might be bit by this dog,” Helen said.
Riley’s already had four shots Sunday, and will need five more over the next month unless they find out if that dog was vaccinated. If you think you saw anything or have information on the dog or its owner, call Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.