December 4, 2010 in Washington Voices

Dangerous dog decision upheld

In appeal, examiner rules victims did not provoke attacks
By The Spokesman-Review
 
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A lab/husky mix named Casey is indeed a dangerous dog, Spokane Valley Hearing Examiner Mike Dempsey has ruled.

The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service declared the dog potentially dangerous in 2009 after it was aggressive toward neighbors in the 8000 block of East Baldwin Avenue. SCRAPS declared the dog dangerous after it bit two children in one day on Oct. 9, but owner Erin Lynch appealed the decision.

Neighbors testified during the appeal hearing last month that the dog frequently runs loose and had a history of being aggressive and attacking people while their backs were turned. Lynch’s attorney, Mark Hodgson, admitted that the dog attacked the children but said it was possible the dog was provoked.

Kaili Pilimai, 15, testified that the dog lunged at him while he was checking on a report from a neighbor child that a 9-year-old boy had just been bitten. After someone called the dog, he turned away to walk home and that’s when the dog struck. The bite broke the skin and Pilimai required medical attention.

In his decision Dempsey wrote that the children were not trespassing on the Lynch property and were not “tormenting, abusing or assaulting” the dog. “The administrative determination made by SCRAPS that the dog is dangerous should be accepted without modification.”

Owners of dangerous dogs are required to purchase $250,000 in insurance, have good fencing, post warning signs and put a muzzle and a leash on the dog when it is outside its home or yard, said Nancy Hill, SCRAPS director. Lynch has already met all the requirements except fencing. “The dog has to stay inside the home,” Hill said. “She doesn’t have an approved enclosure.”

Hill said SCRAPS received a complaint about Casey running loose after the dog was deemed dangerous in October. An investigation is ongoing to see if Lynch will face criminal charges for having a dangerous dog at large.


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