Dangerous Dog Appeal Hearing For UPS Driver Pit Bull Attack

Posted on Nov 29, 2017

Felony Dog Bite Charges Possible

The owners of the four pit bull dogs that attacked and seriously injured a UPS driver in Puyallup on September 13th are appealing the dangerous dog declaration issued by Pierce County Animal Control.  Under RCW 16.08.080 and PCC Title 6.07.015, dog owners have the right to appeal a dangerous dog designation.  

On September 22nd Pierce County Animal Control filed a complaint (No. 17-1-51778) and warrant for removal of the animals alleging Felony Dog Bite under RCW 16.08.100 (3)

The owner(s) of animals that have been declared dangerous may contest the declaration by filing an appeal of the declaration to the Pierce County Hearing Examiner.  The burden shall be on the County to prove, by a preponderance of evidence, that the animal(s) is a dangerous animal as defined in PCC 6.02.010 N. and that the exclusion contained in PCC 6.07.015 B. does not apply. The Hearing Examiner shall render a decision on the appeal within 30 calendar days following the conclusion of all testimony and hearings. 

The owners, represented by an attorney, have stated that they believe that the dogs do not fit the definition of a dangerous animals.   

Both the dog owners and the victim are expected to testify at the hearing.  

Dangerous Animal Declaration Appeal Hearing

Date & Time: Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 10:00am  

Location: Pierce County Annex
Conference Room A 
2401 South 35th Street 
Tacoma, WA 98409.  

Presiding: Pierce County Hearing Examiner

Case#: 17-256-00835 
Charge: Felony Dog Bite
RCW/PCC: 16.08.100 (3)

Victim: Backlund, Kevin
Dog Owners: Owens, Jason / Burgess, Darryl

Date of Incident: 09/13/17
Location: 15514 116th Street East, Puyallup, WA 98374
Animals: Four blue-nose pit bulls: Lexi, female Brindle, L.J. – male gray/white (young), Laurinaitis – male gray/while (older), Zero – female gray/tan.
Animals Status: Tacoma Humane Society; Held For Safe Keeping

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RCW/PCC: 16.08.100 ( C )

The owner of any dog that aggressively attacks and causes severe injury or death of any human, whether or not the dog has previously been declared potentially dangerous or dangerous, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a class C felony punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021. It is an affirmative defense that the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the human severely injured or killed by the defendant's dog: (a) Trespassed on the defendant's real or personal property which was enclosed by fencing suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping and marked with clearly visible signs warning people, including children, not to trespass and to beware of dog; or (b) provoked the defendant's dog without justification or excuse on the defendant's real or personal property which was enclosed by fencing suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping and marked with clearly visible signs warning people, including children, not to trespass and to beware of dog. In such a prosecution, the state has the burden of showing that the owner of the dog either knew or should have known that the dog was potentially dangerous as defined in this chapter. The state may not meet its burden of proof that the owner should have known the dog was potentially dangerous solely by showing the dog to be a particular breed or breeds. In addition, the dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, quarantined, and upon conviction of the owner destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

RCW 9A.20.021 (c)

 (c) For a class C felony, by confinement in a state correctional institution for five years, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of ten thousand dollars, or by both such confinement and fine.

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Mischelle Davis
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Davis Law Group's Director, Operations & Communication