Fort Ebey State Park on Central Whidbey was reopened this weekend when two aggressive dogs were finally caught after running loose in the area for five days.
Carol Barnes, the Island County animal control officer, is now asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who abandoned the dogs at the park. She encourages anyone who knows who may own the dogs to call the dispatch center at 679-9567 and request to contact animal control.
Barnes said a resident of the Pebble Beach area north of the park called her Saturday morning to say the dogs were in his yard. She said Phillip Cook, the resident, was able to feed the dogs and they didn’t act aggressive towards him.
Barnes said she and Cook lured the dogs into her minivan with cookies and kind words.
“I really appreciated his assistance,” she said. “I’m not sure we would have been able to catch them without his help.”
Officials have been searching for the dogs since they attacked two hikers on a trail in the park last Tuesday.
The man was bit by the larger of the two dogs and had to have stitches; the woman locked herself in a restroom and called for help.
Park rangers immediately started looking for the former pets and found that someone had left a bag of dog food, presumably when the dogs were abandoned.
The dogs were aggressive towards the rangers and had to be pepper-sprayed.
After a couple of days, the dogs started roaming outside the park and alarming some residents. They scratched on the doors of a few homes, possibly in search of food.
The park rangers, the animal control officer, deputies, a specialist from the USDA Wildlife Services and Sheriff Mark Brown searched the area and alerted residents about the possible danger.
Barnes said she took the dogs into protective custody and they will be held for five days, under county code.
She said the dogs will not be available for adoption because they attacked the hikers, which means they will be euthanized.
“It’s a tragic outcome,” she said. “Unfortunately, the dogs have to suffer as a result of an irresponsible owner.”