READER REPORT: Dog attack on Harbor Avenue

Jim sent this report, as an alert to other dog owners:

(Tuesday) at about 2 pm, I was walking our 12-year-old Brittany “Copper” on his leash on our daily walk on Harbor Ave when Copper was attacked by a white pit-bull dog which was dragging its leash and not under control of its owner.

As we passed the Marination patio and walked north on the path a man was standing there and a dog was coming from the bushes. It approached Copper and then almost immediately attacked him, pinning him to the ground and holding him down with his mouth. It took both myself and the man to get the dog off and away from Copper.

I took Copper to South Seattle Veterinary Hospital immediately and he was taken in for surgery. Copper has multiple deep puncture wounds and we are glad that he is alive. The clinic and its doctors and employees deserve our thanks.

I am filing reports with Animal Control and the Seattle Police Department. I want this information to be out there for all to see. This dog attacked Copper without provocation. This dog was not being controlled. The owner was not remorseful. He left the scene telling me that this was the fault of my dog having “bad energy.”

I see so many West Seattle dog owners walking their dogs along the water all day every day. They need to know to be careful and always aware that this can happen to them. Copper has never been in a dog fight, much less provoked an attack, and he did not deserve to suffer this fate. If you are the owner of this dog, you should be very ashamed and you should take responsibility for your dog’s actions.

The Seattle Animal Shelter case number is C06730536; you can contact Animal Control with any info at 206-386-7387.

48 Replies to "READER REPORT: Dog attack on Harbor Avenue"

  • CarDriver November 24, 2021 (8:33 pm)

    Wish I had a dollar bill for every off-leash dog I see with owners that CLEARLY don’t care what the law is. Aggravating to see that the city DOES NOT care to enforce any leash/no dogs on the beach laws.

  • Jort November 24, 2021 (9:42 pm)

    Sad, but predictable. This story 100 percent exemplifies the attitude of so many dog owners I see in West Seattle. Dozens and dozens of dogs on the beaches of Alki Beach and Lincoln Park and so many owners think, “I am SO special, and my dog is special, and nothing me or my dog does could ever be wrong, because we are so special and unique” so they just live their lives thinking they’re above all laws, restrictions or common decency. You are not a special doggy-owner snowflake, and the laws and rules of our public spaces apply to you, and your precious, precious little dog, too. I wish I could say that I can’t believe that a story like this could happen here but there are dog owners up and down this peninsula who think they’re so special and unique and important that their precious, beautiful precious dogs couldn’t possibly ever do something wrong. Monsters. Leash your dog, keep it under control or your other options is to the shelter forever. If you take your dog into public spaces, you have a social responsibility to make sure your dog can be controlled. If this is too much for you, say goodbye to the dog or move to Wyoming.

    • MyThruppence November 26, 2021 (9:37 am)

      Monsters? Really Jort? Scofflaws…yeah sure…but monsters? That’s hyperbolic even by your usual standards. Maybe it is you who should consider moving to Wyoming, as living in the city is clearly starting to critically impact your outlook on fellow humans.

  • Anita November 24, 2021 (9:47 pm)

    Jim, I’m so sorry this happened to you and Copper! We walk our dog there almost every day and will definitely be on the lookout. Terrifying and also infuriating that the owner could blame poor Copper. There’s no excuse for the dog’s or the owner’s behavior. We had something similar happen to us at Hamilton Viewpoint a couple years ago. We were walking our leashed dog, an unleashed pitbull attacked her, unprovoked, and the owner blamed our girl.  Super traumatizing. So glad Copper will be ok! 

  • Wsgal November 24, 2021 (9:52 pm)

    I am so sorry this happened to both you and your dog. I personally know how traumatizing an attack like this can be. I hope you are able to have animal control take the dog from the owner. I hope your dog recovers quickly. 

  • AN November 24, 2021 (10:14 pm)

    Tonight we were walking our dog on-leash on Fauntleroy when an adult man and two kids approached opposite us. The young boy had a dog on-leash that was easily 100lbs and clearly dragging the boy as it proceeded to attack our dog. The adult man did and said nothing. Good job, guy, in all the ways.

  • John Smith November 25, 2021 (12:15 am)

    There are many new dog owners now as an unintended result of Covid restrictions. Two years old is a common age for dog owners to GIVE UP THEIR DOG to dog rescues. I wish more new dog owners at least had some common sense; doing a few Internet searches would be even better.

  • WW Resident November 25, 2021 (6:42 am)

    Surprise, a pit bull. Had a pit bull kill our dog. My aunt’s pit bull I used to play with tried attacking me when I went to visit. Had a gang banger try to intimidate me with his pit bull by letting the dog get closer and closer to me as it was snapping his jaws. Neighbor dog got mauled by our other trashy neighbor who let her pit bulls run around the neighborhood. I don’t care what apologists say about pit bulls. They may not be the leader in dog bites, but they sure are when it comes to other animals or people getting mauled and there are just too many stories about owners own kids getting mauled by their pets

  • Responsible dog owners do exist November 25, 2021 (7:34 am)

    There was another attack on west end of Alki a few weeks ago–the person whose dog was attacked was asking for witnesses (notes posted near where the attack happened and on WS FB page). Sounds similar but not clear or certain that is/was this same Pit Bull and owner. The dog in Alki attack had to have leg amputated. Of course not all Pit Bulls are like this but with two serious and recent attacks, it is important to know who these owners and dogs are so that all are not being seen as the potential attacker. Note to all dog owners, which we are, your off leash dog is not friendlier, more special, better, cuter, smarter, sweeter, or anything than our dog who is always on leash. 

    • mnw November 25, 2021 (6:06 pm)

      I remember reading that and it sounded similar to this attack. I can’t recall if the dog in that incident was white or not. I am having trouble finding the Nextdoor posting. 

      • Annette November 26, 2021 (10:51 am)

        It was a different Pit Bull. Two separate attacks, 2 different attackers. 

  • Runner November 25, 2021 (7:55 am)

    We also had a similar experience at Alki Beach. A man had two large dogs off leach on the beach and as we walked along the sidewalk the dogs saw our lab and came running up from the beach and both attacked him. I did my best to stay between my dog and the other two but until the owner caught up and pulled his dogs off they wouldn’t stop.  Of course I was extreme pissed off and gave the jerk a major piece of my mind about why his dogs were on the beach and off leash at all.  Both are illegal yet I see it on a regular basis.  

    • Annette November 26, 2021 (10:52 am)

      It’s illegal but never enforced. 

  • andy November 25, 2021 (8:27 am)

    It seems to me that there are some people who have pit- bulls, that shouldn’t have one. Years ago I was attacked by a pit-bull that was dragging its leash. Luckily for me I wasn’t hurt, because the dog had gotten its teeth hung up in my jeans.. The owner seemed less than concerned and said, ” Whats the big deal, you aren’t hurt.”

    • Pit Bull Lover November 26, 2021 (6:30 am)

      It’s way more accurate to say that there are many people that have dogs that shouldn’t.  Anyone that can’t or won’t control their dog, whether it be a dachshund or a lab or a sheepdog or a pit bull should not have that dog.

  • Alki Joe November 25, 2021 (8:50 am)

    It is ALWAYS the same breed. ALWAYS the same excuse, It’s the owners, not the breed etc etc. When was the last time you saw a report about an attack by a collie, a lab, a golden retriever, etc. No it’s almost exclusively one breed and we all know what it is. 

    • Pit Bull Lover November 26, 2021 (6:22 am)

      I have a pit bull (mix) rescue.  Incredibly sweet dog.  FYI, she was attacked, unprovoked, in the West Seattle Junction by a dog that broke free from its owner. The attacking dog was not a pit bull.  Immediately after the attack, my dog started delicately engaging with a tiny dog whose owner had stopped to help. So no “we” don’t “all know” what you are saying to be true. After experiencing our current dog I will always have a pit bull, mostly because of her sweetness, loving nature and loyalty and in part to counter the broad brush of negativity often leveled by critics.

      • zark00 November 26, 2021 (12:39 pm)

        There have been 43 dog bite fatalities in the US so far in 2021. 28 of them were Pit Bulls. That’s 65% of all dog bite fatalities in this country from a breed that makes up about 6% of all dogs. That is a problem with the breed, period. A huge problem that doesn’t need an apologist, it needs to stop being bred. Your dog may be nice, but it is the exception that proves the rule. Pit Bulls are an overly aggressive breed because they were bred for it. Pit Bulls were bred as bull baiters – literally they ran around standing off against full size bulls. They are very intelligent, very strong, and very very aggressive especially against other animals. 13 of the 43 dog bite fatalities in 2021 were children 10 years or younger – of those 10 fatalities were Pit Bulls. 76% of kid killing were Pits. 6% of dogs by breed yet committed 76% of fatal attacks on kids. That is a breed problem. 

    • not helpful November 26, 2021 (1:25 pm)

      It is actually not “always” the same breed; my personal dog bite experience was with a retriever. If your point is just to come here to vent, that’s fine, but the core problem is much more complex. Breed-specific legislation is tempting because while all dogs have the potential to bite, particular breeds have physicality that can cause more damage and tend to make bigger headlines with a strong emotional public response. I just don’t see how it will help keep us safer. The people who want to care for pits like any other beloved household pet are not the people who have decided to weaponize their dogs because they know they are unlikely to face consequences. In other words, it really IS the owner and not the dog, but we haven’t figured out how to keep dogs of any breed out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. For context, I own a mini schnauzer and sometimes fear he will be seen as bait by bigger dogs, but it’s the owners that make me nervous because I sometimes can’t tell if they are paying attention, have their dogs under control, or are just going to keep texting.

  • WS98 November 25, 2021 (9:04 am)

    Jim – I’m sorry you and Cooper experienced such an unnecessary traumatic event. Serious wounds for any dog let alone a 12 year old, I hope Copper is doing well and has a speedy recovery, he looks like a sweet boy. I’ve had dogs most of my life, and EVERY one of them has been attacked at least once by an aggressive dog not under control by its owner. I carry pepper spray now. The owner of the pit bull is an idiot and unwilling to recognize that he’s the problem. He must have his dog under control at all times and muzzled. That dog will attack again so thank you for sharing this. For all of the witnesses/bystanders…please take pictures or video so police and animal control have evidence of the dog and owner. I can attest they will take action but they need this information and as many reports as possible of this happening to others. 

    • curious November 25, 2021 (5:48 pm)

      Which pepper spray brand do you carry? I am shopping for one now because we’ve had dogs lunge at me and my child while we’re on walks. I worry about dog attacks like these and as a child I was attacked by dogs so now I’m always on the watch for aggressive dogs and their idiot owners. Would be helpful to know what’s good to carry.

  • Seattlite November 25, 2021 (9:12 am)

    I am so sorry for Copper’s injuries and for you.  Many times I have noticed that dog owners do not control their dogs by letting them go off leash in Lincoln Park.  Large dogs that are leashed are also not controlled by owners who give them a long leash lead which enables the dog to lunge at pedestrians. This happened to me recently with a large dog who lunged for a bite out of my ankle before the weakling owner was able to control a 100 pound dog. Many seniors like myself, small children do not have the power to run or fight off a dog attack.

    • ugh November 25, 2021 (9:48 am)

      Yes exactly this. Some family at Schmitz Elem let their dog roam while they were picking up their kid. Their dog lunged and barked aggressively at me and my five year old son. I yelled loudly and kicked up my leg at the dog’s head. It backed off and the owners called it back. Later as we drove off I wound my window down and told them they need to leash their dog. They sheepishly apologized. Come on people, do better and leash your dogs.

    • Gary November 25, 2021 (10:20 am)

      Same thing happened to me a couple months ago while rollerblading. Caused me to crash, fortunately nothing broken…..retractable leashes are pretty dangerous

  • ugh November 25, 2021 (9:45 am)

    I’m so sorry. Your poor dog. He looks like a sweetheart. I hope he recovers quickly. I’m so fed up with all the entitled dog owners walking around with their unleashed dogs. It’s the law for crying out loud. Leash your damn dog.

    • Annette November 26, 2021 (10:57 am)

      Unfortunately, a law is only as good as it’s enforceability.

  • Gill & Alex November 25, 2021 (10:08 am)

    We’re so sorry that Copper was injured but glad to hear he got quick treatment which sounds like the dog owners you are.  Wanted to share part of the Washington State law that was passed back in 2013(?).  I was attacked while out running on a sidewalk by a house in WS many years ago before the new law.  The dog owner came out, apologized and said they would pay for treatment which they did luckily.  Here is Dog bites–Liability part of the new law “(1) The owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”  Anyone who suffers such an attack on themselves or their dog can be compensated.  Try to get a photo if you can.  Good luck to all walkers and runners.  Happy Thanksgiving all!

    • Alki Joe November 29, 2021 (8:24 am)

      Not all, but almost all of the guys with mean looking Pitfalls I’ve seen on Alki, look like you be trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip if you got a court ordered award.  Read “Zarkoo’s” statistical report, those are  the FACTS. Pitbull’s are responsible for the majority (65 percent) of all dog attacks in the US, yet only represent 6 percent of all dog breeds.  You can’t argue with the facts, dangerous breed in general. Not all, but a huge percentage.

  • Buddy November 25, 2021 (10:57 am)

    I’m so sorry about your dog Copper. Of course a  Brittany spaniel has ever been in a fight because they are the most sweetest dogs on the planet.  

    • Buddy November 25, 2021 (11:09 am)

      I mean of course a Brittany spaniel has never been in a fight in their life! I hope that your dog heals up fast. Brittany spaniel dogs are not aggressive at all and are extremely friendly and gentle and some are extremely sensitive dogs. I’m sorry that your dog had to go through.

  • pieinthesky November 25, 2021 (12:02 pm)

    I grew up with brittanys, my dad was a breeder/trainer. They are mostly just big sweeties, even when they’re high strung. I’m so sorry for poor Copper, and I hope he heals as well as he can.I used to foster dogs and was walking with my very timid and new to city life foster once near my Seaview home, and these jackasses from SMS Construction had parked their trucks across the sidewalk. The manager’s German shepherd was running around loose, and when we were forced to walk around the trucks because they’d illegally parked, it came out of nowhere and attacked my foster dog. The rescue group had to pay more money than they really had to get his wounds treated, the dog was further traumatized. Animal Control took it seriously, but then the guy basically started ghosting me and the officer after giving me his number and pretending he was going to step up and do the right thing. Needless to say, I think about spitting on them every time I pass their trucks or that guy’s house. People who let their dogs run loose to attack others are just pieces of s*** and never the kinds of people who take responsibility for their s*** actions.

  • Vanessa November 25, 2021 (12:18 pm)

    Is there such a thing as a taser stick? I mean I wouldn’t want to kill the other animal attacking my pet, but I sure would like to zap the hell out of one if they were hurting mine. 

    • Annette November 26, 2021 (11:02 am)

      No, but one can purchase a Cattle Prod on Amazon (all shapes and sizes). Not sure if it would work on a violently engaged Pit Bull. You’d have to research it. 

  • Leashyerdog November 25, 2021 (1:20 pm)

    I had an incident Sunday where I was walking my 5 month old by the lighthouse, and a guy had a pitbull off leash, and I told him he needs to leash it. The guy exploded with rage and threatened to assault me next time he saw me without my kid, and that he’s lived here 15 years (as though I care, and that it matters). A bunch of people witnessed it. I told him to go $&@! himself, and he continued to harass me along Constellation until continuing on his run. Not afraid of you, pal. If we meet again in the same manner, I’m calling the police. It will be fun watching you get quickly and sadly humbled in this way. 

    • S.A. November 25, 2021 (3:15 pm)

      If you feel able, take pictures of dudes like this (it’s almost always, though not always, dudes).  At my first indoor concert since COVID began, I went around taking photos of guys (it WAS all guys, and almost all over 50) standing around without masks on.  Just a tap on the shoulder and “hi! [click]”  Didn’t do anything with them, just let them know they’re noticed. It was better than throwing ice at them from the balcony which is what my id wanted to do.  But seriously, if somebody is going off, consider snapping their photo, or taking video. Sometimes shame is a useful tool. 

      • Offleashdogsarelame November 25, 2021 (7:12 pm)

        I wouldn’t brag about that if I were you, that’s a serious creeper move.

      • Resident November 25, 2021 (9:27 pm)

        You were going around at a concert tapping people on the shoulder and snapping photos of them?! All I can say is wow! Why not just enjoy the concert? Why get any closer to them if you’re so afraid? You are a contradiction.

      • Jenna November 26, 2021 (12:45 pm)

        What exactly are you hoping to accomplish by being a weird creep? Do you think there was some punitive action that came out of this for them? Weird and creepy.

    • Highland Parker November 26, 2021 (8:26 am)

      Similar incident two or three years ago.  I was outside my house doing  yard chores. Nearby comes a scruffy man with a white pitbull, no leash.  I say, “leash your dog.” Man and dog come up to me, man makes a fist, and says he is going to split my lip open.  My City Councilmember’s  position is against breed-specific legislation.  

      • Annette November 26, 2021 (11:09 am)

        It’s a powerful debate in our society; you’re either for it or against it. If you feel strongly about it, you could start circulating a petition..That would ban like minds together, and perhaps culminate in legislation. It’s worth a try if you’re brave enough to take on the Pit Crew 😄 They can be an intense group . 

  • Pessoa November 25, 2021 (8:27 pm)

    I wouldn’t confront the owners of unleashed dogs unless it is absolutely necessary (as described here). People are emotionally fragile these days and it is simply not worth a heated exchange or potentially violent altercation.  It may be maddening,  but no point in going to Defcon 1 because unleashed Bowser is nuzzling your leg. Just let it go. 

  • Best wishes November 26, 2021 (12:31 pm)

    Best wishes to Copper for a speedy recovery. The staff at south seattle hospital saved my pup when she needed emergency surgery. Please reach out if you need anything.

  • zark00 November 26, 2021 (1:11 pm)

    To stop a Pit Pull attack is difficult and will require you to injure the dog pretty severely. Do not hesitate, if you do the Pit will take advantage of the hesitancy to get a better advantage – for example if latches on to your leg, and you try to run and fall it will move to your throat. Before an attack prob the easiest way to avoid any physical attack is to climb up on a car – Pits are extremely heavy for their size so they can’t jump or climb very well.  If you get onto a car they will just bark a lot and eventually lose interest. If you can’t get away like that, you can stay still, don’t make eye contact, and hope the Pit changes it’s mind – they usually will not though, they’ll just continue their attack. Once they do attack, you need to disable the dog as quickly as possible. They are not startled by loud sounds, they will not stop attacking if you ‘play dead’, they have to be disabled. They are bred to continue to aggressive behavior, it’s part of Bull Baiting which is what they were bred for. Mace it. Pepper spray or mace works pretty well. It’s the preferable choice as the other options are extremely violent. Don’t be gentle – mace it non stop until it runs away. It takes a second for the mace to cause pain and the Pit will continue to attack until it hurts quite a bit. If you don’t have spray, and it’s got you, grab anything heavy, a big rock, and smash it’s skull in. Hit it as hard as possible in the head, repeatedly, unit it backs off or loses consciousness. If you or someone else can grab the dogs legs, pull them apart as fast and hard as you can and break the dogs knees. It will retreat.If you can get to its throat, choke it out. Put the bony side of your forearm against it’s throat (front) and put all of your weight on it, stay there until it loses consciousness. Gouge it’s eyes out – pretty self explanatory, But may not work. Even with that level of injury a pit will still attack. If it can’t see you can prob get away. But this should be a last resort. If you don’t disable it, it will just be more aggressive. Playing dead doesn’t work with Pits. You can protect your face, throat, or other areas. But it won’t stop attacking you. NEVER concern yourself with the life of the attacking dog itself. Disable it it as quickly and as violently as you can muster. A full grown pit is 100% capable of killing a physically able full grown adult – they are no joke – they know how to kill creatures much larger than themselves. There’s a lot of misinformation about Pits out there. Owners and breeders perpetuate that they are actually nice, they are good with kids, if they’re aggressive it’s all the owners fault for raising them wrong, etc. etc. None of it is true. They are bred for aggression, they are extremely strong and resilient, they attack to kill. The only people defending the breed are Pit Pull breeders and owners. Vets and animal behaviorists all agree – Pit Bulls were bred for aggression, and they are doing their job. They are, by design, very aggressive and very dangerous dogs. 

    • try again November 26, 2021 (1:50 pm)

      I don’t own a pit or breed them. This is exactly the type of troll behavior I hate seeing on this otherwise informational blog. If you want to stop the spread of misinformation, then don’t spread misinformation. Some vet associations agree with you. Some vet associations don’t, such as the American Veterinary Medical Association. Neither your opinion nor mine are facts.

    • Pessoa November 26, 2021 (1:53 pm)

      Good, though alarming, information. As a general rule, I believe that no one should leave the house without carrying some means to protect themselves. Everyone can decide for themselves what they consider as adequate protection. 

  • anonyme November 26, 2021 (3:45 pm)

    As for breed-specific legislation, I’d personally like to see certain species banned – like homo sapiens.  That said, there needs to be a crackdown on backyard breeding, which is where so many pit bulls come from.  A vast number of pits end up in shelters and later euthanized, as they’re almost impossible to find homes for.   So many pit bull owners (many being apologists) passive-aggressively let their dogs off leash, or do not control them properly.  It’s almost like they get a thrill out of seeing the (justifiable) apprehension, or outright fear, on people’s faces.  The dog is going to do what’s in its blood, and you never know when that might be.  They can be loving companions most of the time, until that moment where they rip into someone else’s dog, often with fatal results.   At the very least, there should be a muzzle law, but that would be enforced just as stringently as the leash laws (as in, not at all).  As we currently live in a city with few enforced laws, tons of entitlement, and little conscience to go around –  so we’re not exactly in a good place with this.  I always carry pepper spray.

  • Pessoa November 26, 2021 (4:38 pm)

    Recently returned LA where I happened to see a procession of well-trained pit bulls and owners walking around a very heavily used Lake Balboa.  I inquired and found out the organization is LARPBO which advocates for responsible – hence the “R” in the acronym – dog ownership among other things. Perhaps someone knows of a Puget Sound equivalent. 

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