May 15, 1997 in Washington Voices

Roskelley Hears Case, Rules Dog Dangerous

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A dog that bit a 5-year-old girl in the face last month is dangerous, county Commissioner John Roskelley has ruled.

The dog’s owner, Trina Fleisher, released the chow to animal control officials on Monday to be euthanized. In order to keep the dog, Fleisher would have had to meet strict requirements, including buying insurance, building an enclosed cage and posting signs.

Roskelley, who acts as the hearing examiner for dangerous dog appeals, decided last Thursday the dog, Louis, was dangerous after hearing from both sides during a 30-minute hearing. His ruling still must be approved by the other two county commissioners, who could vote on the matter next week.

Chanelle Vassar was bitten on the right eye and on both sides of her nose. She needed plastic surgery and 12 stitches to close a wound on her eye lid.

Fleisher was not home when Vassar was bitten on April 17. Animal control officials called her at work and told her Louie had bitten the girl.

“I just can’t believe Louie would do that,” Fleisher told Roskelley at the appeal hearing. “He’s been around kids all his life. He has never done anything like that before.”

John Vassar, the girl’s father, said he heard his daughter scream and rushed to her. Fleisher’s dog was standing about a foot from Chanelle “in a defensive stance” when Vassar stepped out the back door, he said.

“She was standing there with her face in her hands and blood all over,” Vassar said.

Chanelle told her father “the brown dog bit me.”

A neighbor said she chased the chow off of her porch with a broom after the girl was bitten. Lynne Boyd, who lives in the adjoining unit at Vassar’s duplex, also told Roskelley she had previously complained to animal control officers that Fleisher’s dog was running loose.

Fleisher appealed because she was not convinced Louie was the dog that bit Vassar. A husky that lives between Fleisher and Vassar is similar in color and also was recently picked up by animal control officers for running loose.

Chanelle Vassar was the only witness to the attack.

Fleisher told Roskelley she was not sure how her dog could have gotten out. There were no holes in the fence that surrounds her yard, and Louie was hit by a car five years ago and cannot jump, she said.

“All I want to know is the truth,” Fleisher told Roskelley.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo


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