News

Dogs destroyed after biting girl

By Ruth Longoria

Two vicious dogs were put to death by King County Animal Control last week after the animals -- a black chow and a silver husky -- attacked a young Island girl and her small dog near Mercer Island High School the morning of July 21.

The girl, a 5-foot-tall, 105-pound, 15-year-old, was treated at Mercer Island Pediatrics for her injuries, which included five puncture wounds and scratches on her legs, arms and back. Her dog, a Welsh corgi, received minor injuries.

The incident occurred at about 9 a.m. on a trail between 88th Avenue S.E. and 89th Avenue S.E., where the victim had been walking her dog, according to the police report.

Laura Simpson, 39, was out in her back yard, in the 4600 block of 89th Avenue S.E., with her children when she heard what, she said, were ``blood curdling screams'' and dog yelps coming from the trail area that leads to Ellis Pond.

``It was the scariest thing, it was terrible, this scream and yell for help,'' Simpson said. ``I didn't know what I was walking into.''

After determining that the screams weren't coming from a neighbor's home, Simpson saw what looked like a mass of black fur charging at the frightened teenager.

Armed with a portable phone and in her bare feet, Simpson approached the dogs that were biting at the girl. The girl was holding onto her little dog near the bushes, Simpson said. ``The little girl's dog was on a leash, but neither of those big dogs was on a leash.''

Simpson began kicking at the dogs and hitting one on the head with her phone, as she tried to get the dogs away from the victim. Then, she said, the black chow started to come after her. She threw a rock at the chow and the two dogs took off. Simpson said she has seen the husky in the area in the past, and it never seemed to be a ``bad dog.'' However, the chow appeared to be the more aggressive of the two, she added.

After the dogs took off, Simpson walked the girl to her house. She and the girl's father took the girl to the doctor and the little dog to the veterinarian. Both seemed to be doing OK afterwards, she said.

When police arrived, the two dogs were found walking along in the same block as Simpson's home. The dogs, which both had King County animal licenses, were placed in the back of a patrol car until Animal Control Officer Gumm took possession of them.

The dogs' owner, who lives in the 8600 block of S.E. 45th Street, told police she left the dogs locked in her garage earlier that day. When she returned home, about two hours later, she found the garage door open and the dogs gone.

Her husband authorized the dogs be put to sleep by Animal Control, according to the police report.

Sidebar: Leash law on the Island

According to city RCW 7.04.110, it is illegal for dogs (other than service animals) to be unrestrained when on any private property other than their own, or public property, including school grounds, city streets, play areas, parks or other public grounds; off-leash areas, such as the dog park at Luther Burbank Park, are excluded. The owner of the animal is responsible for, and may be charged with and held liable for, violations committed by his or her animal.

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