Terry Moore, 74, describes how three pit bulls attacked him outside his home on Sept. 23. Two dogs have been euthanized so far and a third one is scheduled to be put down soon as well after being declared “dangerous” by city officials. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Dogs to be euthanized after attacking Sequim man

Two of three dogs that attacked a Sequim man were humanely euthanized last week at the Clallam County Humane Society.

Sequim Police sergeants said they are awaiting paperwork on the third dog before it is euthanized as well.

The action to put the dogs down follows several reports against the dogs and most recently when they attacked 74-year-old Terry Moore outside his home near Fir Street and Govan Avenue.

Moore said he stepped a few feet out his back door around 9:30 p.m. Sept. 23, and was rushed by three pit bulls.

Police reports state that Moore said one dog bit his left arm between his elbow and wrist and another dog bit his right shirt sleeve while the third dog was blocked by the other two.

“I was able to get my right arm free and reach across and swing the door against the head of the dog that was on my left arm,” he told police.

He later received eight stitches and began rabies shots because the dogs’ immunizations were out of date as of January this year.

However, Ann Moore, Terry’s wife, said he’s been having a bad reaction to the shots due to other medications so they’ll likely opt not to continue them. She said unless the dog is put down and tested, they won’t know for six months due to protocol if the dogs have rabies or not.

Terry also canceled plans leading up to cancer treatment due to a doctor’s appointment for the rabies shots, Ann said.

Sgt. Darrell Nelson said the dogs were put into a 10-day quarantine on Sept. 25 and initially scheduled for euthanization on Oct. 4.

The dogs’ owners Collen Lowry and Michael Rensberger signed a voluntary compliance agreement with the city in Nov. 18, 2016, after the dogs threatened and chased residents and/or their dogs on three different occasions on Nov. 11, 2016. The four dogs were declared “potentially dangerous” by the City of Sequim.

However, one of the four dogs, licensed to Rensberger, has since left the city limits without notifying the police department.

City staff opted to take ownership of the dogs under the agreement with Lowry and Rensberger, which led them to schedule the dogs for euthanization.

“The owners entered into this agreement and failed to adhere to it,” Nelson said. “One of the provisions is that they relinquish full control to the city. It’s also a life safety issue and the other part is we put them into quarantine for rabies.”

Dangerous dogs

According to police data, these three dogs are the first to be declared “dangerous dogs” from within city limits and be scheduled to be euthanized.

Dogs who inflict a bite that penetrates the skin on a human or domestic animal unprovoked, and/or if it chases or threatens a person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack when unprovoked can first be declared “potentially dangerous” by Animal Control Officer Lisa Hopper Hopper.

They can be declared “dangerous” if they inflict severe injury on a human without provocation, kill a domestic animal or livestock, and/or were previously found “potentially dangerous” and showed the same issues before.

Since 2015, city staff have declared three other dogs “potentially dangerous,” according to city records.

Incidents with the dogs date back to Jan. 1, 2015, where a resident reported her dog being attacked.

Between then and being declared “potentially dangerous” on Nov. 11, 2016, the dogs were reported to the city at least 14 times including chasing a man up a ladder. The fourth dog, whose whereabouts is unknown, was placed in 10-day quarantine for biting a visitor of its residence on Jan. 16, 2015.

Police report the dogs were also found loose on April 22 and Aug. 3 of this year.

Sgt. Sean Madison said the dogs were released somehow to the owners in April, but they’re unsure who gave the OK to do so.

On Sept. 23, Lowry told police that on the night they attacked Moore it appeared the dogs dug a hole under his fence.

City staff said they are currently assessing how much fines will be attributed to Lowry and Rensberger.

However, city code does not prohibit them from owning more dogs.

Code changes

Next week, Sequim City Councilors host a public hearing on the review an update of the city’s “Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Dogs” ordinance at 6 pm. Monday, Oct. 23, at the Sequim Civic Center, 152 W. Cedar St.

In the discussion, they’ll consider following the state guidelines and whether or not to allow “dangerous dogs” in the city.

City staff’s proposal recommends “dangerous dogs” wouldn’t be allowed in the city after Jan. 1, 2018.

Dogs deemed “dangerous” would be humanely euthanized, sent to a secure animal shelter paid for by the owner, or removed from city limits and held in compliance with state law. Dogs declared “dangerous” between now and Dec. 31, would be allowed under the ordinance so long as they remain restrained and sheltered but Hopper would be allowed to seize a “dangerous dog” if found off property without restraints.

For more information, contact the City of Sequim at 360-683-3311 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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