5 people bitten by 2 dogs in ‘chomping spree’

EVERETT — Two dogs went on a “chomping spree” Saturday, biting five people, mauling two cats and at one point leading police to warn homeowners to stay inside, officials said.

A pit bull terrier and a boxer got loose from their yard and terrorized part of north Everett on Saturday morning, biting a man on a walk, a woman headed to work, a police officer, a man who was sleeping outside and a woman sitting outside in a chair.

At least three people were treated for dog bites at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

The pit bull died after receiving an electric shock from a police Taser in the 1500 block of Grand Avenue.

“They went on a chomping spree,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said. “That’s why the officers were aggressive in their attempts to corral the dogs.”

The dogs were known to be a danger. Animal control officers last summer deemed both animals “potentially dangerous dogs” after a biting incident, according to city records.

The female pit bull was named “Mia,” and the female boxer is “Jewels,” Snell said.

Patricia Strong was lucky the dog bites didn’t break her skin when they confronted her in an alley in the 1600 block of Oakes Avenue.

The attack happened just feet from the bedroom window of the victim’s daughter-in-law, Jessica Chrisman, 30. The family had the windows closed and didn’t hear the attack.

Strong was resting in a chair in the back driveway, Chrisman said. She saw the dogs and began speaking to them, asking what they were doing in the alley. The dogs came up to her, barking and growling.

One “grabbed her pants leg and was shaking its head back and forth,” Chrisman said.

After the attack, Strong had holes punched in her pants from the dog’s teeth, Chrisman said.

Chrisman noted that she is a dog lover, and has owned two pit bills in the past 10 years. Both were “really, really lovey,” she said.

She’s still teaching her younger children to be wary of strange dogs, she said.

“My kids would have approached the dogs, and they would have been torn to shreds,” she said.

The first complaint about the dogs was made around 6:30 a.m. when an Everett man, 44, was attacked while walking in the 1300 block of Lombard Avenue. The dogs crossed the street to attack him, witnesses told police.

A passerby was able to come to his rescue and get the dogs off him, but not before the victim received serious bites to his back and legs, Snell said. His arms also were bitten. He was taken by aid car to the hospital.

Later, a 27-year-old Everett woman on her way to work was bitten as she got out of her car in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Rockefeller Avenue.

A police officer who tried to coax the dogs into the back of his patrol car was bitten in the leg in the 1800 block of Lombard Avenue. He escaped more injuries when he shot at them with his electronic stun gun.

“The dogs approached in a friendly manner and were wagging their tails. But then one lunged and bit him,” Snell said.

An Everett man, 44, was sleeping outside in the 1800 block of Broadway when he was attacked and bitten on his feet.

“The man scared the dogs away by yelling and swinging his backpack, but not before they bit through his shoes,” Snell said.

He went to the hospital, Snell said.

At one point, police used loudspeakers to urge people to remain in their homes until the dogs could be caught.

Police eventually tracked the boxer to its home in the 1700 block of Lombard Avenue and contacted the owners. The dog now is quarantined at Everett’s animal shelter while the case is investigated.

Police found the pit bull after an extensive search.

The dog died after police shot it with an electronic stun gun in an attempt to bring it under control, Snell said.

“The dogs were known to Everett animal control officers,” Snell said. “There have been previous investigations into the dogs’ activities.”

No arrests have been made or citations issued.

Both dogs were deemed to be “potentially dangerous dogs” in August 2011 after being involved in a biting incident, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.

The pit bull also had been classified as potentially dangerous because of its breed. In Everett, the definition of “potentially dangerous dog” includes a provision that specifically lists pit bulls.

Everett’s municipal code prohibits people from allowing dogs deemed potentially dangerous from leaving their property without being muzzled. They also must be on a chain or leash.

The boxer will remain at the city animal shelter for at least 10 days, Reardon said.

“The future of the dog has yet to be determined,” Reardon said.

The owners could release the dog to the animal shelter or get it back under strict conditions.

The city could upgrade the boxer’s classification to “dangerous dog,” which would increase the requirements on the owners to include a $100 registration fee and proof of a $250,000 insurance security bond.

Neighbors in north Everett on Monday were out walking their dogs and carrying in groceries. They said they were shocked to hear about the attacks.

Justin Jugum, 30, was walking with his German Shepherd-Husky mix, Sasha. He often sees stray dogs running around and crosses the street with Sasha to avoid them, he said. He sees pit bulls all the time, but they’re often harmless, he said.

“It’s more of an irresponsible owner thing, in my opinion,” he said.

Sue Murphy has lived in the neighborhood for 36 years. She recently bought pepper spray after encountering an aggressive dog while walking her two Dachshunds along 16th Street.

The dog grabbed one of her dogs, and she had to call police.

“When you’re walking two dogs, it’s hard to get them both picked up,” she said.

Murphy’s neighbor, Judy Ross, likes to walk with her yellow Labrador, who stays close by her side.

Ross said she wishes people would follow leash laws. She worries about the loose dogs, too, especially because “it’s always some little, tiny dog trying to find its way home,” she said.

“There’s been a lot of strays around, and I hate to see them get hit by a car or something,” she said.

Some pit bull owners have taken aim at the city’s municipal code for singling out the pit bull breed as potentially dangerous.

A woman recently brought the issue to the Everett City Council.

Since then, the city has received more than 150 form-letter emails saying the city should “STOP racial profiling dogs!!!.” The email writers report to be from as far away as France, Slovenia and Romania.

Animal bites

The Everett Animal Control Department offers these tips to people living in Everett who are bitten by an animal:

• Wash the bite with soap and water or go to the doctor to have it properly cleaned.

• If you haven’t received a tetanus shot within five years, it is important to get one within 48 hours of being bitten. Contact your doctor for more information.

• Report all dog and cat bites to Everett Animal Control at 425-257-6000. If the dog bite breaks the skin, report it to Snohomish County Health Department at 425-339-5278.

• File a statement with Everett Animal Control. If there are witnesses to the incident, have them file statements as well. Citations and potentially dangerous dog declarations may be issued based on witness statements received by animal control. Witness statements must be filed before any official action can be taken.

View Everett Dog Bites, August 2012 in a larger map

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