Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island in Coupeville, Washington, is closed to visitors as rangers attempt to find two dogs said to be very aggressive, according to Oregon Live. The two dogs allegedly bit one man and forced a woman to lock herself in a restroom on the park grounds to avoid being bitten.
Park rangers found a large pile of dog food at an undisclosed location and believe someone may have abandoned the dogs. The park manager stated that the dogs looked like pit bulls, were growling, and were very aggressive toward him when he saw them. His partner sprayed one of the dogs with pepper spray when it approached the car.
The manager and his partner were called out when a couple reported the aggressive dogs had attacked them. The man and woman were out for a hike when the dogs approached. The man swung his water bottle at one dog and the animal bit him in the leg. He then told his wife to lock herself in the restroom and to call for help. She sent a text message asking park personnel for assistance.
Animal control has yet to locate the dogs but is keeping the park closed until they are contained.
Abandoned Animals Cause Destruction and Damage
According to the California Penal Code Section 597f, it is a misdemeanor for any person to permit an animal to be without proper care or attention. Humane societies or animal control officers are tasked under the statute with the duty of recovering abandoned animals. The statutes also states that animals can be euthanized if they are found to be sick or crippled.
Aggressive animals can also be euthanized, but it is important for authorities to locate the owners first so that they can be held accountable for damages caused by their abandoned pet.
Under California law, an owner is legally liable for damages caused by a dog that the owner does not have safely confined in a home or yard. In the case of an aggressive dog that bites, the owners may be found liable for medical bills, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and lost time at work or increased living expenses as a result of the recovery time due to the dog bite.
Finding the Owners of Abandoned Dogs
Finding the owners of abandoned dogs is not always easy. Not all dogs are micro-chipped, and this means that the dogs have no true identification unless they are wearing tags that can be traced. Micro-chipping allows a vet to scan the dog’s chip, usually located between the shoulder blades under the skin, and find the dog’s identifying information in a computer.
Of course, even if the owner is identified, it is not certain that this will lead to proof that the individual is liable for the dog’s actions. Some owners may give a dog to another person who then allows the dogs to go free or abandons them. The presence of food at the site of this accident, however, suggests that an owner traveled to the island to leave the dogs in the hope that someone would pick them up.