Dog-bite incidents worry animal control

Island County’s animal control officer is concerned about a recent run of dog-bite incidences involving children.

Carol Barnes has investigated four dog-bite cases in the last month and has issued two tickets to dog owners for alleged violations of the leash law.

She warns parents and dog owners to be vigilant; she reminds them of the unpredictable problems that can occur when kids and canines mix. None of these incidences involved so-called dangerous breeds like pitbulls or Rottweilers.

There’s a leash law in Island County, after all, which required dogs to be on leashes off an owner’s property.

“With spring here and summer coming, people need to pay more attention to their children and their dogs,” she said. “It’s light out later. Kids are playing outside longer.”

Most recently, a 2-year-old child was bitten in the face by a neighbor’s Shizhu-Pomeranian mix dog May 2 in the Country Place Mobile Home Park.

Barnes said the little dog came up to the toddler in the little girl’s driveway.

The bite resulted in a “tooth scrape,” Barnes said, on the toddler’s cheek. The dog was placed in quarantine, as required by the Island County Health Department.

On April 23, a dog bit a 10-year-old boy who was riding his scooter in the Hillcrest development. Barnes said a German shepherd-Doberman mix chased the child and bit him behind the knee.

The dog was quarantined, even though the injury was not serious.

In a much more serious incident, a 11-year-old boy was badly injured April 22 when a dog attacked him while he was playing outside his Rolling Hills home.

Barnes said three children were playing flashlight tag at night on Paul Avenue. A neighbor’s two boxer-type dog left the owner’s property and approached the kids. Two of the children jumped over their fence to safety, but the boy stayed behind and was attacked by the male dog.

Barnes said the dog bit the boy in the leg and ankle, pulling his shoe off. He screamed for help and the boy’s uncle came to the rescue. He lifted the 11-year-old over the fence, but was attacked by the dog in the process.

The boy ended up with multiple bites, puncture wounds and tears on his legs, feet and ankles. The doctor sewed him up with more than 40 stitches. The boy’s uncle was bitten on the bottom of the foot.

Barnes said the 34-year-old owner of the dog was very apologetic.

“She was very distraught over the dog’s behavior and what happened to the child,” she said. “She couldn’t understand the dog’s behavior. Both dogs are part of her family.”

Barnes said she issued the dog owner a citation for “control off premises, resulting in a dog biting and severely injuring a child.” She served a dangerous dog notification to the dog owner.

In an even more serious incident, 10-year-old Jake Fosberg was mauled by a neighbor’s lab-mix outside his home in the Valley High Trailer Park April 15.

Doctors performed surgery on the boy to irrigate and close two large scalp lacerations. They also treated bite wounds on Jake’s arm, back and buttocks. In all, the boy received 129 stitches.

Barnes said the dog’s owner gave her documentation that the dog, named Raider, was euthanized in another county after the quarantine period.

The owner of the dog recently pleaded not guilty to a violation of the leash law.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynews or 675-6611.

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