Dogs in White Center attack being held, investigated

66 year old man suffered severe neck wound, fought animals off with a pocket knife

By Simone Alicea

Two of the three dogs involved in an attack on a White Center man early Wednesday morning are being held at the regional animal services shelter in Kent until the county decides whether they can be returned to their owners.

The 66-year-old man had just been dropped off by a friend who had taken him to the store, according to Sergeant Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Department. The Seattle P-I reports that the man was walking on 18th Avenue Southwest around 12:15 a.m. when the attack occurred.

Authorities have not yet spoken to the man, who is being treated at Harborview Medical Center for bite injuries all over his body, including a severe wound to the neck.

Neigbors in the area said the dogs were running loose before the attack, but nobody reported being threatened by the animals.

After the three dogs were found by authorities, two were taken to the regional animal services shelter. The third dog was injured by a pocket knife the man used to defend himself during the attack. That dog had to be euthanized because of the extent of is injuries, West said.

The other dogs are being kept in bite quarantine so they can be tested for infection, which is part of normal procedure, said Gene Mueller, manager of regional animal services for King County

Animal services have just started to investigate the dogs to see whether their owners can keep them or if they will have to be expelled from the jurisdiction.

“It would depend a great deal on what the victim says happened,” Mueller said. “If it was unprovoked, the wounds: all of that would be put together to frame whether or not we can prescribe prescriptions for (the dogs’) holding that would ensure the safety of the neighborhood.”

If the county were to find that the dogs needed to be expelled from the jurisdiction, their owners would have three options. They could try to find another jurisdiction which would take those dogs, which could happen in some rural counties pending the results of the investigation and those counties’ resources. The owners could also choose to put the dogs down or appeal the county’s decision at the King County Board of Appeals.

“This is just the beginning of a long process about what’s going to happen with these dogs,” Mueller said.

Mueller also said that there were probably about one or two dog attacks per week that resulted in this kind of investigation. Mueller encouraged people to call animal services if they are ever concerned about dogs running around and said that they will follow up.

“If there are neighbors in that immediate area, we would welcome them giving us a call to provide information,” Mueller said. “Either a past incident or anything they would know that would help us with this investigation.”

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact RASKC at 206-296-PETS (7387)

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