Woman charged with felony after dog attacks child

A woman faces a felony charge for allegedly owning a potentially dangerous dog that injured a girl.

A Coupeville woman is facing a felony charge for allegedly owning a potentially dangerous dog that attacked and injured a 10-year-old girl last September, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged the 60-year-old woman in Island County Superior Court April 8 with owning a dog that attacks, which is a violation of RCW 16.08.100(3). Under the description of the charge, the woman knew or should have known that her dog “Cosmo” was potentially dangerous.

In an interview, the dog owner said the dog is very important to her and her husband and brings happiness to them every day; Cosmo was invaluable to her when she broke her leg. She said he is only aggressive when strangers get close enough to touch her.

A deputy responded to a report of a dog bite outside of a Coupeville grocery store on the afternoon of Sept. 13. An ambulance was on scene treating the child when the deputy arrived. The distraught girl told the deputy that she had been walking home from school when the dog jumped out of a vehicle and attacked her.

The dog owner, who was at the scene, told the deputy that she had parked her SUV on Terry Road and was loading groceries when the student walked between the car and the wall of the store. She said her German shepherd lunged out of the vehicle and attacked the girl; she was not able to pull the dog away and shielded the child with her own body, the deputy wrote.

The woman questioned why the girl would walk on that side of the SUV, and the deputy opined that she probably was trying to stay out of traffic, the report states. The girl received seven stitches to her leg and two stitches to close a wound on her abdominal wall, the report states.

The deputy wrote that the dog has a history of aggression and was previously categorized as a “declared dangerous dog.” The dog was referred to Island County animal control in 2018 “after numerous aggressive attacks on neighbors,” the report states. That same year, the dog allegedly attacked a man, tearing his pants and injuring his leg.

In a 2022 case, the Oak Harbor animal control officer investigated when Cosmo allegedly attacked someone while the owner was walking the dog, the report states.

The dog owner said she has to abide by strict rules to keep the dog from getting loose and that the new county animal control officer inspects the precautions. She said the dog is very protective of her because he sees her as family.