Authorities dogged by canine attacks
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
August 4, 2009 · Updated 2:53 PM
It may be the dog days of summer, but some canines in Oak Harbor haven’t been taking it easy in the heat.
Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace said officers dealt with three dog-bite incidents over the weekend. Oak Harbor Animal Control Officer Terry Sampson has the job of investigating the cases this week. He doesn’t blame the weather or the alignment of the planets for the uptick in dog attacks.
“I think it’s just coincidence that these popped up at the same time,” he said. “That kind of thing seems to happen in animal control.”
On Friday evening, Officer Jim Hoagland responded to a report of a stray dog running around on Midway Boulevard.
“It was pretty scared. A lot of people were chasing it,” Sampson said.
The Australian shepherd mix was hiding under a car, so Hoagland tried to retrieve it. The pooch nipped him on the hand.
At 9 a.m. Sunday, the police received a report of two terriers attacking a cat on NE Regatta Drive. Sampson said the dogs chewed through a fence and attacked the neighbor’s feline. A man was bitten when he tried to pull the dogs off the cat.
The owner of the cat brought the animal to the veterinarian, but it died.
Ten minutes later, officers responded to another dog-related incident on E. Whidbey Avenue. According to Sampson, a woman was walking on a sidewalk and a beagle mix broke loose from its tether. The dog bit the woman on the back of the leg.
In each of the cases, the people who were bitten suffered puncture wounds and scratches. The injuries required medical attention, Sampson said, but they didn’t need sutures.
Sampson said he’s still investigating the cases, but a dog that bit a person or killed a cat could be deemed as a “dangerous dog” or “potentially dangerous dog” under city code. The owner of a “dangerous dog” must register it with the city, keep it in a secure enclosure and obtain $250,000 worth of insurance, payable to anyone injured by the dog.
“It’s a long, drawn-out process,” Sampson said.
Police also had to deal with a report Saturday morning of a dog on NE Barron Drive that continually gets loose and “charges people,” according to the 911 log. In addition, four people reported barking dogs over the weekend.Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.