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Dog attacks two police officers
Two police officers were attacked while responding to a report of a dangerous dog near Rotary Park on Tuesday, April 15.
The owner of the 5-year-old boxer, named Kali, had been walking in the park when the canine’s leash came loose and the dog ran off. Police reports state that the owner found the pet in a neighboring yard in the 4300 block of 89th Ave. S.E., attacking another dog, a small cocker spaniel named Bell. The boxer had the smaller dog by his head and throat.
“I was in the backyard and I heard a commotion and turned around,” said owner Paul Reese. “There was a dog that had our dog around the neck, just going for it…[my wife] came out with a broom and [we were] just nailing it, kicking it, [trying] to get it off.”
The owner of the offending boxer was eventually able to return his dog to his leash. But when police arrived at the scene, the dog was still agitated.
Moments after police consulted the boxer’s owner – who claimed his dog was not a danger to people – the canine lunged after responding Officer John Pritchard.
“I turned to walk away and the boxer attacked me, trying to bite my right leg,” Pritchard recounts in a police statement. “I pulled away quickly enough so the dog didn’t damage my clothing or cause any injury, but left two spittle marks on my pant leg.”
The dog then went after Officer Bob DeLashmutt, tearing his right pant leg. Photos from the scene reveal bruises and small puncture marks on his right shin.
A neighbor who witnessed the incident worried that had her two young children been in the yard, the agitated boxer may have gone after them. The owner of the boxer was charged with two violations for having an unlicensed pet and for allowing his dog off leash, amounting to fines of $500.
“Our thought was that the animal should be put down,” said Reese. “This seems like a larger issue…this is a community in which there are so many dogs and kids and bikes and joggers.”
Reese said that in a conversation with a representative from King County Animal Control (KCAC) he was told officers were limited in their actions and penalties. KCAC operates on a contract-by-contract basis with cities and Cameron Satterfield, a communications manager for the County, explained that unlike most other cities, Mercer Island hasn’t incorporated Title 11 of County code, which he claimed limits what violations KCAC can write. Officers must fall on city code or state law.
City Attorney Katie Knight explained that Mercer Island has adopted the state vicious dog law.
“There is plenty of ability to prosecute under this, (and it is a better written law),” wrote Knight in an email. “King County’s code bypasses important due process concerns. That has been an issue for a number of cities—the County tries to claim it is limited under city code, but it is not.”
The owner of the assailant dog was ticketed last week and will have several days to appeal the charges. He chose not to comment for this story.