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TMCNet:  Pit bulls who attacked dog declared dangerous animals

[January 03, 2013]

Pit bulls who attacked dog declared dangerous animals

Jan 03, 2013 (The News Tribune (Tacoma - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Pierce County Animal Control authorities have reversed themselves and declared two dogs who attacked a Parkland woman's dog to be dangerous animals.

An Animal Control officer on Wednesday served the dogs' owner, Jessica White, after the county interviewed and obtained affidavits from a father and son who told The News Tribune they witnessed the attack.

An officer did not initially cite White or declare the dogs dangerous after the Dec. 10 attack on Debra Stoltenberg's dog, named Bubbles.

"I feel somewhat vindicated," Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

Her story was originally published on Dec. 22.

White, who moved into a rental house next door to Stoltenberg a few days before the attack, said she's being treated unfairly and plans to appeal.

"This is the first time my dogs have ever done this," White said. "My dogs are not people-aggressive at all." White said she saw only one of her dogs -- an 18-month-old male pit bull named Soldier -- chewing on Bubbles' neck. She said she's keeping her dogs in a kennel on her property in the 1600 block of Hume Street.

Owners of dogs branded dangerous are required to pay $500 for an annual permit for each animal, keep the dogs in an enclosed pen and have at least $500,000 in liability insurance.

White has until Jan. 14 to request an appeal before a hearings examiner, comply with the restrictions, or relinquish the dogs to the county.

Animal Control declared two of White's dogs dangerous after obtaining verbal statements and written affidavits this week from Lamar Mapp and his son, Ramal.

Animal Control Supervisor Brian Boman said his department couldn't take action last month because the person who called 911 and observed the attack would not give his name.

Lamar Mapp told The News Tribune he called 911 and Animal Control after his son told him the neighbor's pit bull and one of her other dogs were attacking Bubbles. Lamar Mapp said he told the responding officer he saw the pit bull attacking Bubbles and gave the officer his name.

County Auditor Julie Anderson said Wednesday her office's investigation found a history of animal complaints involving White in the City of Tacoma. They include infractions for failing to license two pit bulls in 2011 and a complaint last month for not treating a skin condition on a dog she was responsible for, documents show.

Nothing about the dangerous dog declaration will help Stoltenberg pay the medical bills for Bubbles. The 12-year-old chow/German shepherd required surgery for a ruptured jugular vein and other medical care that cost $1,635.

White said she initially agreed to pay Bubbles' medical bills but decided not to after Stoltenberg became confrontational.

Bubbles underwent another surgery Monday to put a new drain in her neck and is resting comfortably, Stoltenberg said.

"She's feeling great," Stoltenberg said.

She and her adult son, who paid for the first surgery, have no more money to cover the dog's medical bills beyond the $2,100 paid so far, she said.

Stoltenberg has said she plans to go to court to recover medical costs.

Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 steve.maynard@ thenewstribune.com ___ (c)2013 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) Visit The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) at www.TheNewsTribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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