Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dogs attack Sequim woman

By Mark St. J. Couhig, Sequim Gazette

Two pit bulls attacked a Sequim resident this week, leading to a partial amputation of one of the victim’s fingers.
Sandra McMillon was walking her own dog, a chihuahua mix, on Tuesday, Jan. 25, when the attack occurred. McMillon picked up her dog to protect it from the pit bulls, “and that’s when they attacked me.”
She said the only way to get away was by dropping her own dog.
The attack took place near the intersection of Third Avenue and Maple Street in Sequim.
McMillon was treated at Olympic Medical Center for bites to two of her fingers. She lost the fingertip of the ring finger on her right hand.
McMillon said her dog has required $900 in veterinary care so far.
The dogs’ owner, Philip Booth, told police he currently owns four pit bulls.
Booth said he had in the past learned his dogs were capable of climbing the backyard fence and, as a result, he had raised its height in an effort to contain the dogs better. He admitted to police that the dogs still were capable of climbing over the fence.
Booth also said the female pit bull had exhibited aggressive behavior in the past. He showed the police the injuries he had received when the dog bit him on the hand.
He said when he lived in South Carolina he was a breeder of pit bulls and was involved with people who trained dogs for dog fights. He said he hadn’t participated in the training but had provided medical care to dogs following fights.

Dangerous dogs

Sequim Police spokesman Maris Turner said the two pit bulls were immediately caught by city animal control workers and were brought to the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society in Port Angeles for quarantine.
Turner said the city is working to have the dogs declared dangerous. If that effort is successful, Booth will have to make a choice: have the dogs euthanized or follow the complex and expensive rules regarding housing a dangerous dog in Sequim.
Turner said that includes paying an annual licensing fee of $550 a year for each un-spayed or un-neutered dog, or $250 annually for those that have undergone the appropriate procedure. Dangerous dogs must be kept in a “six-sided structure,” in a properly posted yard, Turner said.
Turner also said the Clallam County prosecuting attorney’s office is looking into filing charges against Booth.

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