One of the top two expenses for Dallas during the Ebola scare wasn’t security or even salaries. It was the dog.
Nearly $27,000 — the second-highest cost — was spent to monitor Bentley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owned by nurse and Ebola victim Nina Pham. After Pham contracted Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8, she requested that Bentley be cared for instead of euthanized like an Ebola-exposed dog in Spain.
Though it appears that Big D spared no expense, spokeswoman Sana Syed said the pricey dog bill shows that high-rolling Dallas has a big heart. Taxpayers are not out the whole amount — grants and donations from around the world covered $19,000.
That more than covers the biggest cost on the itemized list for Bentley’s care — $17,057 for “facilities make ready and security at pet care facility.” Some of the monitoring involved a special cage used to collect Bentley’s droppings so they could be safely tested and disposed of. He was cared for by workers in hazmat suits.
His expenses besides the facility makeover:
• Supplies for pet care, $1,067
• Generator and labor for pet-care facility, $2,053
• Pet care for Patient One, $259.78
• Pet cleanup, $6,445
The overall expenses for Dallas during the Ebola scare were $155,000. The costliest item was hazardous-materials response, at $58,700. Other expenses included around $17,000 in salaries and around $18,000 in hire-back costs for the paramedics who were quarantined for 21 days.
“It speaks to the character of Texans and our love of animals. It was not even an option to put down a dog that had not been tested for Ebola,” Syed said.
In the end, Bentley was declared Ebola-free and reunited with Pham, who grew up in Fort Worth.
Staff writers Susan Schrock and Judy Wiley contributed to this report.