By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]
The Lewis County DAD board, a volunteer quasi-judicial panel that essentially hears court cases about dogs, ruled three dogs dangerous last week for two separate attacks.
As defined by the Lewis County Code, a dangerous animal is one that inflicts serious injury or death on a human, domestic animal, or livestock without provocation; or, an animal previously found to be potentially dangerous that again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or animals.
After the DAD board rules an animal is dangerous, the owner has 10 days to decide whether to euthanize the pet or keep it while following a strict set of rules, including housing the animal in a code-compliant enclosure with signs that say “dangerous”. dog”, always keep the pet in a muzzle during transport and always have the animal under the supervision of a competent adult, among other rules.
Last week, two German Shepherds were unanimously declared dangerous for their involvement in the alleged murder of a neighbor’s dog.
On March 15, a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy was dispatched to a property in Centralia over a report of a vicious dog. In the backyard of the property, in a neighborhood between Fords Prairie and Galvin, the dog “Lula” was dead.
Lula’s owner reported that she heard “distress noises” and found three German Shepherds attacking her dog. As she was walking towards them, one of the three, who was pregnant, jumped over the fence.
Because it was unclear whether the “mommy dog,” as she was called during the DAD board hearing, was involved in the attack, Lewis County Assistant Civilian Attorney Barbara Russell only asked the board to consider the state of the other two dogs. a 1 1/2 year old female named Nova and a male of the same age named Shep.
The other separate case was that of Otis, a 5-year-old Great Pyrenees and Anatolian mix from Salkum. The dog’s owners, John and Eva Cox, did not deny that Otis assaulted his neighbors, a couple who were asked to feed the Cox family pig while they went on vacation.
The incident occurred on Spencer Road on March 17, when neighbors entered Cox’s property through a shared gate they had built between their properties so their children could spend more time together.
The board listened to tearful testimony from neighbors about their experience taking their son in a stroller onto the Coxes’ property, seeing Otis on his way to them, and having to lead the dog away from their son. Both adults ended up in the hospital after the attack.
Otis was trained as a cattle guard, Eva Cox said, and was not used to being around other people. On the day the neighbors came to feed the pig, Otis was apparently not within the normal pasture and fenced off from him.
The neighbor who was most injured in the attack — whose name is withheld from The Chronicle for her privacy as she required medical attention for the incident — asked that the board do nothing to harm Otis. She pleaded that he be rehabilitated instead.
DAD Board Judge Chuck Snipes explained to Cox’s partner and the victim that the dog would not have to be euthanized because of the board’s “dangerous” unanimous decision, just that the owners would have to work with the DAD Lewis County Humanitarian to bring their precinct up to code.
“It sounds like you guys have a good friendship,” Snipes said. “It doesn’t have to end. And the dog doesn’t have to finish either. He is completely dependent on you.