A pit bull and lab mix attacked a 6-year-old girl at Ochoco Reservoir, but dog remains free

Central Oregonian

This past weekend, 6-year-old Kaylee Ross, of Bend, was enjoying a visit to Ochoco Reservoir.

The young girl had just finished petting two dogs, after receiving permission from their owner Shawna Love of Prineville. When the owner turned around to leave, Kaylee picked up a water bottle they had left behind and attempted to return it.

That was when the pit bull and lab mix snapped and attacked the unsuspecting young child.

The dog scratched and bit Kaylee several times on the arm before her 8-year-old brother, Kaiden, managed to pull her away to safety.

The child was left with several wounds on her arm, but she fortunately escaped the incident without suffering any damage to nerves or blood vessels. Nevertheless, the family was left frustrated by the fact that the dog was not seized because of the incident and still remains in the custody of its owner.

They are not the only ones who are frustrated. Sergeant James Savage, of the Crook County Sheriff’s Office, wishes they could have done more. But they are bound by state laws that govern dog attacks and this one, though frightening for Kaylee and her family, did not inflict enough harm to warrant impounding animal.

“There are two levels,” Savage explained. “There is a violation for a nuisance dog, which can be a dog trespassing, a dog barking, or a dog bite. There is maintaining a dangerous dog. In order to qualify as a dangerous dog, it has to cause serious physical injury or death to a person or has to have been convicted of previously biting someone.”

Savage explained that if the dog attack had resulted in the loss of an organ, loss of a limb, or some other impairment, it would constitute a “serious physical injury” as opposed to only a physical injury, which under state statute does not trigger seizure of the attacking animal.

Crook County adopted an animal control ordinance about four years ago, but the laws pertaining to dog bites and attacks essentially mirrored those of Oregon statute. That could change as County Counsel Jeff Wilson is in the process of revising portions of the law.

Much of the revision Wilson characterized as wordsmith work. He has added new language that declares Crook County a dog control district, and clarifies who the dog control officer should be for the county. He has also considered removing the provision that establishes a dog control board, but noted that the Crook County Court may not approve of the change.

When it comes to dog bites and attacks, the county could choose to enforce a stricter guideline than the state and allow seizure of dogs for lesser injuries. So far, no such provisions have yet been proposed.

Despite what has occurred so far, there is the possibility that the recent dog attack could still result in seizure of the offending animal.

“The case has been sent to the district attorney,” Savage said. “The district attorney could review it and change it to the dangerous dog.”

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