Janet Harris — a former close friend of Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife Robin who’s now suing them – is asking if the TV doc has taken no action himself to modify his dog’s behavior after it bit her.
In her lawsuit, she alleges that the she received a a potentially life-threatening infection as a result of the dog bite.
Now in an exclusive interview with RadarOnline.com, she says, “I followed up on the dog bite report, and what I was told by the gentleman there who runs the department is that they sent them [the McGraws] several letters.”
After an eight-year long friendship with the McGraw family, Harris was hesitant to file the report. But upon urging from her physician after she was infected with a serious disease, her doctor submitted the form to the Veterinary Public Health-Rabies Control Program on March 29, 2010.
According to a representative for the county program, the animal owner is typically contacted through a quarantine notice informing them within 10 days they can’t take the animal off their property and if it becomes ill they need to notify authorities immediately. The owners are also asked submit a rabies certificate attesting to their animal’s health.
RadarOnline.com contacted the department asking if the McGraws had complied but was told they were not allowed to talk about specific cases.
Harris says she was “nervous” to file a bite report because she did not want to cause her friends “any grief.”
Harris – who was once a frequent guest on Dr. Phil ‘s TV show and was once Robin’s best friend – said she was bitten by their Korean Jindo, Maggie, while visiting their Beverly Hills mansion in December 2009, as RadarOnline.com first revealed.
“I was just trying to get better, so I didn’t report the dog at first because they seemed to be really on board with wanting to take care of me and wanting to make sure everything was okay.” But that apparently was not the case.
When asked if she knew if the McGraws had taken any steps to modify the dog’s behavior after the incident, Harris says “Not that I’m aware of.”
“If this is happening with me, and I’m in this life-threatening situation, I think you need to have the dog taken to the vet, and maybe the dog needs to be medicated too. What if this is going to happen again?
“I didn’t really understand the magnitude of the infection, so I didn’t know that the dog needed to be attended to. I did follow up with their assistant and asked if they had gotten Maggie to the vet and he said he hadn’t been asked to do so.”
In her lawsuit, Harris claims to have developed hypersensitivity to the prescription antibiotics she took for the infection, as well as permanent side effects, including nearly total hearing loss in her right ear and a right hand tremor, amongst others, which have hindered her ability to work and forced her to close her Beverly Hills skincare clinic. Yet her struggles haven’t seemed to affect the McGraws — or their beloved dog.
“I see them driving around with Maggie hanging out the window,” Harris revealed. “I’ve been behind them on several occasions.
“It’s heartbreaking for me on a personal level. Honestly, I wish that this never happened.
“It’s disappointing as a friend … Is it a slap in the face to me? I think it’s a bigger slap in the face to them because they have to live with that decision.” When contacted by RadarOnline.com, Dr. Phil’s rep had no comment.