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Aggressive dogs close Ebey park

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, left, talks with Fred Goodman of the USDA Wildlife Services and Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes about how to catch two aggressive dogs that have been roaming a neighborhood off West Beach Road. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, left, talks with Fred Goodman of the USDA Wildlife Services and Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes about how to catch two aggressive dogs that have been roaming a neighborhood off West Beach Road.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island was closed this week after a pair of aggressive dogs attacked two hikers Tuesday.

Beginning on Thursday, the temperamental canines started ranging outside the park to neighborhoods just north near Libbey Beach Park.

Park rangers, Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes, a specialist from the USDA Wildlife Services and even Sheriff Mark Brown have been out patrolling the area and warning residents.

Barnes said the potentially dangerous dogs have been going up to the doors of homes and scratching at them. She said several residents are scared to go out.

Park Ranger Brett Bayne said the Central Whidbey park will remain closed until the dogs have been removed. The Kettles Trail near Coupeville is also closed.

Bayne said he’s seen the dogs a few times and they’ve been very aggressive toward him. He said he resorted to pepper-spraying them when they wouldn’t let him get out of his vehicle.

The rangers found a pile of dog food near where the dogs have been seen.

“It’s apparent these dogs have been abandoned,” Barnes said. “It’s very sad.”

Lauryn Wilson, a native Oak Harbor resident, came home from college at Central Washington University and decided to bring a friend, Brad Durham, to Fort Ebey State Park for a hike Tuesday afternoon.

They were on a trail when the two dogs, both without collars, ran up to them. She said they looked like mixed-breed dogs; the larger male appeared to be a St. Bernard and German shepherd mix, while the smaller female looked like a pitbull mix.

Wilson said the dogs kept growling and charging at them. They tried to walk away, but the dogs continued being aggressive. She said she thought they might be trying to get help for an injured owner or puppies.

“The dogs, I thought, were acting so strangely,” she said.

Wilson said she started following the dogs, which seemed to make them happy. But when Durham followed behind, the dogs became angry and started attacking him. They both bit him on the hands and legs. The larger dog drew blood.

“It seemed like they have a problem with men,” she said. “Maybe they were beaten by a man.”

Since the dogs seemed threatened by Durham, Wilson told him to run for help in the opposite direction while she continued on with the dogs. She said she ran with them through the woods; they seemed pleased and weren’t aggressive towards her.

Wilson found a restroom and locked herself in, then called her mother for help.

Wilson said her mother drove her and Durham to the hospital, where he got stitches for the bite on his leg.

Brown said the focus is on trying to capture the dogs, possibly with neck snares. It’s not unheard of for people to abandon pets at parks, Bayne said.

Barnes emphasized it’s a crime to abandon a dog. She encourages anyone with information to call 360-679-9567 and request animal control.

 

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