Officials believe "pepper spray" on dog caused hospital scare

A family of 5 who live near the Jackson-Rockcastle county line decided a trip to London’s St. Joseph Hospital was necessary after an encounter with a pit bill Sunday night.

“They thought they got it from a stray dog. After they petted the dog, touched their skin, it got worse,” said Mary Lou Young, the London hospital’s Director of Emergency Services.

A couple in their 20’s complained of burning skin, dizziness, and headaches. A 2 year old and two other adults were with them. But soon some hospital staff came down with the same symptoms.

“We activated our emergency response plan,” said Young.

Which meant the toddler, 4 adults, and some of the ER staff were decontaminated.

“They put on suits and respirators. They took the patients through the decontamination showers,” said Young.

The family lives off Ky. 89 in Jackson County and didn’t want to be identified. They told 27 NEWSFIRST that they believe someone just dropped off the stray dog near their home, and problems started when one of them simply petted it.

That dog was put down and officials considered sending it off to Frankfort for more testing. But the Jackson County emergency management director says initial tests tell them the chemical may have just been pepper spray. It’s possible someone sprayed the dog as a deterrent….and the chemical may have had a chain reaction effect.

“We decontaminated a total of 13 people, the victims, the staff,” said Young.

All are said to be doing just fine now.

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