Reader reports: Puget Ridge break-in; Highland Park dog attack

October 9, 2011 at 9:16 am | In Crime, Highland Park, Puget Ridge, West Seattle news | 30 Comments

Two incidents handled by local police in the past few days – a burglary and a dog attack in which both a child and another dog were bitten. Read on for reports from the victims in both cases:

First, the break-in, reported by Linda:

My house was robbed during the day yesterday. No one was home. I’m located on 16th by SSCC. Not too much damage to house, but things were rifled through and electronics were stolen. No leads from police yet.

Second, the dog attack. We were asked on Thursday about an incident near Highland Park Elementary to which both police and animal control responded. Couldn’t find out anything, but on Friday, Christie sent us her report, which turned out to be the same incident. We asked some followup questions, and now that those answers are in, here’s her story:

On October 6th my dog was attacked by a pit bull as my daughter and her friend were walking him – we live on 12th between Trenton and Henderson. The dog was a stray dog that my neighbors found and decided to keep (they kept the dog chained to a tree in the yard) and (Thursday) he was successful in breaking free from the tree and he came running at the girls and tried to kill our dog.

I was on my way home when it happened – but by time they called me to say what was happening they had already gotten away from the dog – thankfully our neighbor helped get the pit bull away from the girls and our dog by throwing something at the pit bull so he would drop our dog.

The girls made it inside our house and called the cops and animal control. When I came home (around 4:30) the police had our street blocked off and they had their guns out trying to help the animal control person to get the dog. Because he bit my daughter’s friend in the shoulder (she was trying to get our dog away from him) and hurt our dog, they will have to keep him quarantined for 10 days I do not know if he will be put down or not; they didn’t say.

The pit bull did hurt our dog and he was in the hospital with a bite mark to the neck but is fine after a night’s stay and stitches (to the tune of $1,000) – and needless to say we are all shook up and a little traumatized but physically we are all going to be OK.

From our followup exchange with Christie: Her dog is a terrier mix. Since dog advocates are often concerned that aggressive dogs are misidentified, we asked her who described the attacking dog as a pit bull; she said police, animal-control authorities, and the person who was keeping it. She also says another dog of that same breed has lived at the same house and “is an OK dog and has lived there for six months or more.”

30 Comments

  1. On a slightly related note: chaining a dog to a tree? Really?

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 9:44 am October 9, 2011 #

  2. Sounds like the issue is the owner, and not so much the dog. I can’t think of any breed of dog that wouldn’t be aggressive after being chained up to a tree all the time.
    I hope the dog is put down as it is now obviously a danger to the community.

    Comment by CMeagh — 10:18 am October 9, 2011 #

  3. Keeping a dog chained to a tree is nearly a sure-fire recipe to make a mean dog.

    It’s too bad for all concerned.

    Comment by LivesinWS — 10:25 am October 9, 2011 #

  4. Good to hear your kids and dog are relatively OK, but certainly not good to hear of another incident involving pits.

    My dog and I were attacked by three pits a block away who jumped a fence a few years ago (they were eventually removed from that home),
    I am hoping we can get a follow-up on the status of determination for this incident. The proximity to the elementary school has been duly noted by WSB and hopefully AC will decide prudently.

    Comment by westseattledood — 10:31 am October 9, 2011 #

  5. Put the dog down. Harsh, yes, but it has attacked a child. Prosecute the owners for abuse / neglect. Fine the owners; ban them from owning any animals and make them pay the medical bills for the dog and kid.

    Comment by John — 10:33 am October 9, 2011 #

  6. golly, i can’t remember the last time a labrador attacked anyone…….
    the breed has propensity for violence and only owners who are pre screened and trained to be good owners should be allowed to own one. until we can figure out how to be better partners with our animals companions lets stop ruining good dogs because of bad owners. i would love to see stricter laws regarding owner responsibility.

    Comment by shfy 1 — 11:14 am October 9, 2011 #

  7. Hey Linda- sorry about the breakin. I too live on 16th and hady home robbed this time last year. Erg. Scary stuff. Since we have put in a burger alarm and signs, as a great deturant. Are you interested in starting a neighborhood watch?

    Comment by Luap — 11:16 am October 9, 2011 #

  8. I agree with John. Put the dog down and make the owners responsible for medical bills.

    Comment by Petunia — 11:25 am October 9, 2011 #

  9. Sounds like charming neighbors to just keep a dog chained up in the yard. Wonder if they’d enjoy it themselves?

    Was there any sort of shelter for the dog other than the leaf canopy? Seems like that ought to be a violation of some sort.

    Comment by Jim P. — 12:03 pm October 9, 2011 #

  10. I thought tethering was illegal, but I see now that senate bill 5649 did not pass. Sad. http://www.seattledogspot.com/tag/washington-state-legislature/

    Comment by Westie — 12:31 pm October 9, 2011 #

  11. Luap-

    Here is the link to the West Seattle Blockwatch Captains’ Network website. They are the best resource for all things blockwatch in our area:

    http://wsblockwatchnet.wordpress.com/

    Comment by westseattledood — 2:35 pm October 9, 2011 #

  12. This makes me so angry and afraid. My mother in law and 3 year old were walking to the playground at that same time that day and an off leash pitbull came down the street. They were obviously nervous and noted a car following the dog (which made them feel safer in terms of someone helping to interven if necessary) and they also noticed police.
    Why does anyone tie a dog up, period? And dogs need to be fully secured and not allowed to roam the streets.
    It is def. a problem in our neighborhood and I’ve encountered off leash pit bull/pit bull mixes while running or walking with my child and own dog and it is terrifying.
    Dog bit a kid? Put down, period.

    Comment by meg — 3:33 pm October 9, 2011 #

  13. Heck, I saw a dog running around loose maybe a block from there just today. Obviously it wasn’t the same dog (some sort of mastiff, I didn’t get all that close), but geez, if people don’t care about being good neighbors, don’t they at least care whether their pet gets hit by a car or something?
    .
    I’m glad everyone’s ok. Scary stuff!

    Comment by datamuse — 5:09 pm October 9, 2011 #

  14. My parents dog was the one attacked and Ichigo (the dog) is a palm/terrier. He is seems to be fine and is at home now and walking around, playing and barking at squrriels. Though his vet. bills are outragoues, How would one go about making the owners of the pitbull foot the bill?

    Comment by Vanessa — 5:43 pm October 9, 2011 #

  15. Vanessa, I think that you hang onto your police report, vet bills, etc., and file in small claims court.

    Comment by MMB — 8:05 pm October 9, 2011 #

  16. The pit bull’s owner/ responsible party ‘s name should appear on the Police or Animal Control report. With that information, file a claim in small claims court for the total of all vet bills and medical bills. What a frightening situation. I hope Ichigo and Ai-san heal quickly! Much love, Kyla’s Mom.

    Comment by garden_nymph — 8:18 pm October 9, 2011 #

  17. Shfy1, if you can’t remember the last time a lab attacked anyone, it’s because you aren’t paying attention. The truth is labrador retrievers are the dogs most likely to bite someone. But we don’t freak out about them because it rarely gets in the news and pit bulls have become the dogs du jour to hate. To everyone here who say pit bull this and pit bull that, read up on them and you will see they are not horrible monsters. As a matter of fact, they were once considered nanny dogs because they are great with kids. This incident sounds like a case of a neglected dog who managed to break free and go after another dog (the reasons for which could be many) and the kids, trying to help their dog, got hurt. Think for awhile as to why you are so quick to condemn a dog to death for behaviour that in a person would be misdemeanor assault. We hold to a higher standard of behaviour, beings that we deem less intelligent than us, hmm. I know, its our childrens safety. Your children are more likely to be attacked by family members, peers or a perfect stranger… or a golden-haired, doe-eyed retriever.

    Comment by CJ — 8:39 pm October 9, 2011 #

  18. Just because you find a loose dog does not mean it isn’t owned! When I worked at a humane society 75% of our stray dogs were reclaimed by their owners.

    And then to tie it to a tree is irresponsible in so many ways. So sorry to hear about the attack and it must have been so scary for the girls, but happy to hear everybody is going to be okay.

    Comment by Delridge Resident — 8:55 pm October 9, 2011 #

  19. @Shfy1-
    My dog was viciously attacked by a lab 7 years ago. The lab grabbed him by the throat and ripped his flesh wide open. It was the most horrible, scary thing, thing ever. I was left screaming for help and no one stepped in. My dog was never the same and I have to say I look I look at humanity a little differently too.
    The pit in this incident was made mean by the owners. Put them in jail and ban them from ever owning animals again.

    Comment by Neighbor — 9:50 am October 10, 2011 #

  20. Why is tying a dog to a tree a problem? I see people all the time tying dogs to bike racks while they go get coffee or shopping or whatever. What’s the diff? I really don’t know, I have never owned a dog.

    Comment by WSTroll — 11:29 am October 10, 2011 #

  21. WSTroll – I believe the issue is the duration of the dog-tethering. In some cases, dogs are left tied up all the time. Advocacy group: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/

    Comment by WSB — 11:46 am October 10, 2011 #

  22. 1) Labs are much more likely to bite
    2) There is a pit bull breeding ring in the Highland Park area…their goal is to breed winning fighting dogs. If the dog is too nice to fight, these ‘breeders’, they just set them loose. Remember that starving pittie in Highland Park awhile back? He was ‘too’ nice, so abandoned.
    REPORT BACKYARD BREEDERS!
    3) Dogs that are consistently chained, with no human interaction are more likely to bite because they area undersocialized. Remember, some people use a chain because they don’t have a safely fenced yard, but the dog is inside a lot with their people.

    Comment by funkietoo — 12:14 pm October 10, 2011 #

  23. I can attest, by the scars on my legs, that it isn’t just pitties that attack. As a child I had a neighbor’s weimaraner, as well as a relative’s mixed-breed dog, bite me and leave some nasty scars (over 40-plus years they are still with me). As the owner of a Catahoula-pitty mix, who I might mention has never bitten anyone, I’ll always believe that a tethered dog is a vicious dog. . .isn’t that the point in tethering them, to make them loco?

    Comment by twirl-a-whirl — 2:27 pm October 10, 2011 #

  24. @Shfy1-

    I’ve been attacked and bitten by labs (chocolate and yellow) three times in the course of my life. My dog has been attacked by labs four times in the past two years (all while he was being walked at a heel on leash) and twice by a golden retriever at the off leash park in the same period of time. So please don’t go badmouthing or good mouthing any specific breeds.

    Comment by Joan — 2:49 pm October 10, 2011 #

  25. I agree that not all pitt bulls are aggressive. And that other dogs bite, etc. etc. And, in some neighborhoods, such as Highland Park (where I live) there are a much higher number of these dogs than other neighborhoods. And when I see them here they are frequently left outside and/or tied up all the time. They bark and lunge at fence whenever you walk by. Or are out wandering around by themselves.
    So, maybe in another place they are friendly and sweet, but my experience with them in Highland Park, is that they are not. They are scary. Perhaps it is the local breeding. Perhaps it is who owns them. I don’t know. But, at least in my neighborhood, I have yet to encounter a pit bull/pit bull mix that isn’t scary.
    There are 3 other breed dogs (mutts) that are in the area, almost always left outside, and also always bark fiercely when we walk by and lunge at fence. So I’m clear that treatment plays a big part in a dog that is aggressive. And, some breeds seem to become aggressive easier than others. Someone might have the nicest pitt in the world. But dogs that are historically bred for fighting have it encoded and it doesn’t take much bad raising to let that out.

    Comment by meg — 3:08 pm October 10, 2011 #

  26. This debate gets so tiresome. Pit bulls have been bread for several thousand years for fighting each other as well as other animals. Though they can be trained to be friendly, they are more likely to be deadly if they do fight due to their selective breeding. Irresponsible owners are also more likely to get a high from owning a fighting breed, which makes for a bad outcome. We need to require that pits be spayed and neutered, require that they be licensed, and stop issuing new licenses after a warning period. This provides a humane means to grandfather the breed out of Seattle.

    Comment by WSRes — 5:46 pm October 10, 2011 #

  27. @WSRes
    If you ban a breed, or grandfather them out, then those people who backyard breed and get these “aggressive” breeds just get bigger and badder breeds. Check out the Fila Brasileiro, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fila_Brasileiro, if a pitbull is actually well-bred to fight then they shouldn’t bite a humane even if they stick their hand into a fight; Filas are bred to chase down large cats, cattles and slaves!
    I agree there should be better monitoring of owners, but there are better solutions than eliminating a specific breed.

    Comment by Delridge Resident — 8:35 pm October 10, 2011 #

  28. Wow, meg, I thought it was just me. I’ll freely admit that I’m not terribly comfortable around dogs unless I know them, but yeah, some of the ones around here aren’t friendly at all. There’s one that lunges against his leash and snarls whenever he sees me. (He’s not a pit bull, by the way.)
    .
    WSRes, pit bull terriers as a breed have only existed since the 19th century. So no, they haven’t been “bred for several thousand years”.

    Comment by datamuse — 8:49 pm October 10, 2011 #

  29. WSRes, “Pit bulls have been bread(sic) for several thousand years for fighting each other as well as other animals.” is laughable! And they don’t need to “be trained to be friendly”, they are naturally so. We need to focus on the owners-an animal reflects its treatment and if one is aggressive, it is the owners who should concern us.

    Comment by CJ — 10:06 pm October 10, 2011 #

  30. My daughter is the girl that was bit, physically she is ok but emotionally and psychologically she is not, we walk past a dog in a yard and she cant breathe. She has been around dogs most of her life and now has a fear of large dogs because of the attack, i know that this will pass too but it is hard to see my girl in fear. I am an advocate for pit bulls and think that any owner who trains a dog (any dog) to fight should be drawn and quartered.

    Comment by Kim — 9:35 pm October 11, 2011 #

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