December 15, 2013 in Region

Owners of pit bulls step forward after attack

Dan Pelle photo

Koko, an 11-year-old Kelpie-spaniel mix, was attacked by two pit bulls in a field at 32nd Avenue and Havana Street on Thursday while on a walk with her owner, Dan Pelle. The injuries were so extensive that she had to be euthanized. This photo was taken this year.
(Full-size photo)

Animal authorities today impounded one of two pit bulls that mortally wounded a Spokane family’s dog last week and were working to verify that the second pit bull had died from injuries in the attack.

Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service declared the pit bull dangerous and will keep it at its shelter as the owner weighs its options under state law. Those include registering the dog as dangerous, which requires it to be kept in a secure kennel, and surrendering it to be euthanized.

“Until they make a decision we will keep the dog at the shelter,” said Nicole Montano, field operations manager for SCRAPS.

This morning, the two young men who had the pit bulls off leash in a South Hill field tracked down Dan Pelle, owner of the 11-year-old Australian Kelpie-spaniel mix Koko, which had to be euthanized after Thursday’s attack.

The men, community college students who are cousins, apologized and took responsibility for what happened, said Pelle, a photographer for The Spokesman-Review.

“They were extremely remorseful,” he said.

The men told Pelle one of the pit bulls had died from injuries it sustained as the men wrestled to remove the dogs from Koko. Montano said SCRAPS is working to verify that and awaiting proof from the dog’s owner.

Pelle was walking Koko near 32nd Avenue and Havana Street when the two dogs attacked. He tried to beat off the dogs with a walking stick. He said the attack lasted about two minutes, leaving Koko with severe injuries to her neck, chest and back legs. She was euthanized at South Grand Veterinary Clinic.

All three dogs were off leash. City and Spokane County both require dogs to be on leashes in public places, Montano said.

The owner of the surviving pit bull can register it as a dangerous dog by obtaining a homeowner’s security bond for $250,000, providing a kennel with cement floor and top, having the dog spayed or neutered, and agreeing to keep the dog on a leash and in a muzzle on walks.

The owner also can appeal the dangerous dog designation or allow SCRAPS to euthanize the dog.

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