One dog that seriously injured a Deschutes County woman last month will be killed, while the other will be spared if the dogs’ owners build an additional fence enclosing their remaining dogs, the county’s dog control board decided Monday.
Owners Jean and Dave Straight, who breed boxers and were not at Monday’s hearing, will have until the end of the day Wednesday to accept an offer that would save their female boxer’s life. If they decline it, or if they fail to build a fence within two weeks, both of their boxers will be euthanized.
“The problem is not going to go away with two dogs being put down,” dog board member Thomas Schuchardt said. “That may be justice, but it’s not going to make the problem go away.”
A 7-year-old tan-and-white male boxer named Marshall and a 1.5-year-old brindled female boxer named Brandy have been held at the Humane Society of Central Oregon since mid-March, after they attacked the Straights’ neighbor, Joy Stanovich-Brown, as she walked her Chihuahua mix to her mailbox in rural Deschutes County.
They left still-visible lacerations up and down her legs, fractured her right ankle and tore her hat from her head before another neighbor, Jason Blomgren, arrived and drove Stanovich-Brown to safety.
Stanovich-Brown said she didn’t want either dog placed for adoption because no one should be hurt the way she was. However, she said, she’d be amenable to Brandy going to a dog rescue if it meant the Straights built a fence to keep the other dogs from getting out.
“There’s very little of me that isn’t chewed,” Stanovich-Brown said. “I don’t want anyone to be scarred for the rest of their life the way I will.”
Troy Kerstetter, animal care manager at the Humane Society of Central Oregon, said the Humane Society would lean toward euthanizing both dogs because of their bite history. But if both dogs came in off the street, the Humane Society would try to place Brandy for adoption and send Marshall to a dog rescue based on behavior tests.
There’s a “high likelihood” Brandy can be rehabilitated, said Chris Sperry, vice president of Northwest Boxer Rescue. She’d need to be spayed, and she would not be placed in a home with children.
Separate from the dog board’s decision, Deschutes County’s code enforcement department will look into whether county zoning allows the Straights to breed dogs on their property.
The dog control board mostly handles livestock cases, and its most recent high-profile cases involved dogs killing alpacas in 2015 and 2016. Three Siberian huskies accused of killing four alpacas in 2015 were sentenced to death, while the owner of a boxer that mortally wounded an alpaca in 2016 was ordered to give the dog up for adoption.
A lot of dog-livestock interactions are handled by neighbors without involving the sheriff’s office or the county’s dog board, said Dave Doyle, the county’s legal counsel. Others result in citations but don’t come before the dog board.
Typically, the dog board defaults toward imposing reasonable restrictions on dogs and their owners, rather than taking the dogs away or fining their owners.
That’s what it did with the most recent hearing a few weeks ago, about a dog that got out of his yard and into a neighbor’s chicken coop. The newly adopted dog didn’t hurt any of the chickens, and the county board chose to require the owners to install an invisible fence — which uses a special collar and wire buried under the ground or a wirelessly transmitted radio signal to keep dogs in an area through electric shocks — and pay kennel fees of about $20 a day for the days the dog was impounded.
“A lot of times people just need to be more cognizant, and the dog board does have an education element,” Doyle said.
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