Animal Control investigating two dog attacks in Juneau

Liam on the run

Liam on the run. Photo by hlkljgk/Flickr Creative Commons

Two recent dog attacks in Juneau are under investigation by Animal Control.

Gastineau Humane Society Executive Director Chava Lee says the first incident happened on Thanksgiving when a large mixed breed dog attacked a smaller breed dog on 1st Street in Douglas.

“That dog, the dog that was attacked, unfortunately, did not make it,” Lee says. “It died during the night. You know, a really, really sad situation.”

The second incident happened Wednesday afternoon about 4:15 p.m. when three unaltered pitbulls attacked an unaltered mixed breed dog and his owner, who were walking near Hospital Drive. Lee says the dog that was attacked suffered severe injuries, but is expected to be okay. His owner was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital for treatment of bites sustained while trying to break up the attack.

“She got bit and then a bystander came by who was pretty heroic actually in keeping the dogs away from her and away from the other dog,” she says.

Lee says the pitbulls’ owners were also at the scene and took responsibility for allowing their dogs to escape from an enclosure. In both cases, she says the owners of the attacking dogs received citations. The dogs themselves are under quarantine for 10 days, and Lee says the owners will have to take further precautions to ensure public safety.

“There will be signs posted indicating their dangerous status,” says Lee. “They’ll have to wear particular collars. They will have to be on leads at all times, short leads. They’ll probably have to wear muzzles. They’re going to have to be altered.”

Whenever there’s an attack involving a pitbull, Lee says she hears from people who want to ban them in Juneau. But she says that’s not the way to prevent dog attacks.

“We have just seen some amazing pitbulls that are just incredible dogs. And we’ve also seen dogs that aren’t pitbulls that are extremely aggressive and dangerous,” Lee says. “So it’s just this particular breed has a horrible reputation.”

In the other case, Lee notes the attacking dog was not a pitbull. Since the other dog died in that incident, she says it remains under investigation and Animal Control is seeking witnesses to the attack.

“There are possibly more restrictions that are going to be coming,” she says.

Lee declined to identify any of the people involved in either incident, saying it’s for their safety. She says it’s not unusual for Animal Control to respond to two dog attacks in one week, but the severity of these attacks is out of the ordinary.