Kelly Anderson was watching TV downstairs in his parents’ Longview home when two dogs he’d never seen before jumped on him.
May 6 was a sunny, warm morning, and the sliding glass door to the back deck had been left open for the family’s three cats. The yard of the house, in the 1100 block of 20th Avenue, was only partially fenced.
Remaining calm, Anderson, 26, tried to shoo the dogs back outside.
Then Flex, the family’s 11-year-old orange tabby cat asleep on a windowsill, woke up and made a noise. The pit bull mixes pounced.
Anderson beat the dogs with a closet rod, screaming for them to let go of the cat. Upstairs, his mother, Sandra Anderson, heard the commotion. She raced down to see the dogs dragging her beloved cat back and forth through the house. Blood was everywhere.
Realizing there was no hope for Flex, Sandra Anderson, 54, now feared the dogs would turn on her son. As she dialed 911, Kelly Anderson was sneaking out the side door and around the back. He shut the sliding door to the deck, trapping the dogs in the house.
When the police and animal control arrived, the dogs sat quietly, their necks looped in the nooses of the officers’ catch poles. Because one of the dogs was licensed, authorities knew they belonged to a family just 2 1/2 blocks away in the 900 block of 19th Avenue, just north of Kessler Elementary School.
The Humane Society’s animal control officer issued the owner, Peter M. Hansen, a $771 ticket for allowing his dogs to run loose and failing to have a license for one of them.
Wednesday, the Humane Society notified the Hansens that their dogs Magnum and Honey had been declared dangerous, according to Animal Control Supervisor Mike Nicholson. The only other incident involving either dog was when Magnum escaped in June and was briefly impounded before being returned to his owners, he said.
After authorities declare a dog dangerous, owners have 72 hours to comply with dangerous animal requirements outlined by city ordinance. Those requirements include registering the dog with the Humane Society for a $250 fee, buying a $20 orange dog collar that says “Dangerous Dog,” posting “Dangerous Dog” signs on their property and obtaining an additional $250,000 in liability insurance on homeowner insurance policies.
The Hansens, whom Nicholson described as “respectable people,” are devastated over the incident and want to compensate the Andersons, Nicholson said Wednesday. Peter Hansen and his wife were at work but a family member was home when the dogs somehow escaped. The Hansens could not be reached for comment.
Sandra Anderson said she hasn’t heard from the Hansens yet, and she’s waiting for the formal reports from police and animal control before she’ll try to contact them. She intends to send them the bill for the cost of hiring professionals to clean up the cat blood that had soaked the house and was smelling worse and worse.
It cost more than $1,000 to have the blood removed and the carpets and flooring disinfected, Anderson said.
But the worst part is the lingering trauma from the break-in and the memory of seeing Flex mauled.
“I feel totally violated,” said Anderson, who can’t bear the thought of getting another cat. “(Flex) was in his home. He was sleeping on his ledge and he was killed by two trespassing dogs that were not properly secured.”
The Andersons are getting their entire yard fenced soon, and they don’t leave the sliding door open anymore for their surviving cats.
In the meantime, Sandra Anderson doesn’t feel comfortable at home, inside or out, she said, noting that the dogs are back with their owners. If her 3-year-old grandson had been visiting that terrible day, the situation could have been even worse, she said.
“What’s to prevent them from getting out again?” she asked. “They have the taste of blood — and if they got out again, they know where they got it.”