By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — Prosecutors have filed a felony charge against the owner of two dogs that bit their way through north Everett last summer.
The dogs, a pit bull terrier and a boxer, reportedly dug under a fence and escaped their yard on Lombard Avenue. Five people were attacked and at least one cat was killed during the Aug. 25 chomping spree, court papers said. At one point, police resorted to using a loudspeaker to warn people to stay in their homes until the animals were caught.
The pit bull, “Mia,” died after a police officer shot her with an electric stun gun.
The owner Michelle Patino recently was charged with the crime of having a dangerous dog, a felony. Under the law, Patino is being prosecuted for owning a dog that “aggressively attacked and caused severe injury or death of any human.” Prosecutors will have to prove that Patino should have known her dogs were potentially dangerous.
Patino, 32, is scheduled to answer to the charge later this month in Snohomish County Superior Court.
According to court documents, Patino received notices in 2011 from the city of Everett that her pets had been classified as potentially dangerous after a biting incident. The pit bull also had been deemed potentially dangerous because of its breed. The paperwork outlined how Patino should house her dogs to avoid criminal prosecution and fines.
In Everett, once a dog has been classified potentially dangerous the city requires the owner to keep the animal in a locked kennel with a roof or inside a home. The dog isn’t allowed to be loose, or even chained, in a fenced yard. The animal also must wear a muzzle when outside the kennel or the owner’s home. The dog also must be registered and have an implanted ID microchip.
Prosecutors allege that Patino didn’t do enough to keep her dogs secure. Police reported that the dogs had dug beneath a fence. Officers found a beer keg in front of the area where the dogs had been digging.
The dogs reportedly were roaming north Everett on a Saturday. The first complaint to police was made around 6:30 a.m. An Everett man, 44, reported that the dogs crossed a street to attack him.
A passerby helped get the dogs off the man. He received significant injuries to his leg. He also was bit in the back and arms. He was hospitalized for his injuries, which likely will leave permanent scars, court papers said.
A woman on her way to work also was bitten as she was getting out of her car on Rockefeller Avenue. The dogs bit another woman’s pant leg when they confronted her in an alley on Oakes Avenue.
A police officer was bitten in the leg when he tried to coax the dogs into the back of his patrol car. He then shot at them with his electric stun gun. The dogs also attacked a man sleeping outside on Broadway. The dogs bit through his shoes before he scared them away by yelling and swinging his backpack.
Police eventually tracked the boxer, Jewels, to her home on Lombard. She was quarantined at Everett’s animal shelter while the case was investigated. The owner eventually signed off on having the boxer euthanized.
It took the cops longer to find the pit bull. Mia died after an officer used a Taser in an attempt to bring her under control.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.