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Kelso woman attacked by dogs; owner has history of violations

Kelso woman attacked by dogs; owner has history of violations

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Humane Society officials say two German Shepherds that mauled a Kelso woman last month previously have bitten other people, and their owner has been cited repeatedly for letting the dogs run loose.

Since October, the Humane Society has fined Ingrid Sacha $771 for allowing three of her six or seven German Shepherds to roam her South Kelso neighborhood. Sacha, 43, was fined another $551 for failing to license two of the dogs.

On Nov. 15, two of Sacha's dogs, named Marley and Lug, attacked a neighbor who walked into Sacha's house at 809 Elm St.

"(The neighbor) was beat up pretty good. One of the worst maulings I've had," said Humane Society animal control supervisor Mike Nicholson.

Marley and Lug are quarantined at the animal shelter until Sacha goes to court Jan. 26 to appeal the Humane Society's declaration that the animals are "potentially dangerous."

To meet the court's threshold for "dangerous," a dog must kill a domesticated animal or human or inflict severe injury without provocation, or the dog has attacked someone after being designated "potentially dangerous," Nicholson said.

Sacha must pay $100 per dog each year to list them on the county's potentially dangerous dog registry. She also must outfit the animals with $25 orange "dangerous dog" collars and have the dogs microchipped for identification.

According to Nicholson, neighbors say they're afraid to officially report other problems with the dogs for fear of retaliation. Dogs have been poisoned in the neighborhood, and Sacha has threatened neighbors, he said.

The Daily News was unable to contact Sacha, who does not have a phone, according to a relative.

Dogs ‘knew me'

Elizabeth Elders, who lives three doors down from Sacha, didn't think she had to worry about the dogs because "the dogs knew me. ... I've been hanging out with her (Sacha) six to seven months, and I spend up to six hours a day over there," she said Wednesday.

Elders arrived at Sacha's house Nov. 15 with coffee, "as I do every day."

Elders, 49, said Sacha knew she was coming over, but nobody answered when she knocked. The screen door was latched, but the front door was slightly ajar. Elders pushed the door open and Marley and Lug attacked, biting her thighs. She fell to her knees, screaming. Then Lug bit her face, said Elders, who needed eight stitches on her lower jaw.

"If it would have been a half-inch lower, it would have gotten my jugular vein," she said.

A male friend of Sacha's who had been sleeping on the couch pulled the dogs off Elders. Bleeding and crying, Elders called her husband, who drove her to the hospital. Uninsured and unemployed, Elders said she has racked up $3,800 in medical bills for treatment of deep puncture wounds. She also had to wear a drainage tube for a few days for the stitches on her face.

"I'm not the first one that's been attacked, and I won't be the last," she said, adding that three or four attacks haven't been reported. Some of the neighbors run when they see the dogs outside, she said.

"These dogs are dangerous. They need to be put down," Elders said.

History of violations

Sacha's dogs have a history of violations dating back to 2008, when Sacha lived on Hall Road in Silver Lake, Nicholson said. Neighbors made four complaints about her dogs running loose and being aggressive, and Sacha was cited twice, he said.

On Sept. 25, 2008, a resident reported that dogs owned by Sacha named Cowboy and Marley had attacked a neighbor's dog and tore off one of its legs. However, because the injured dog's owner did not come forward with a complaint, the Humane Society listed the report as unfounded, Nicholson said.

On Aug. 3, 2010, a 60-year-old woman reported that Lug bit her on the upper arm when she entered Sacha's yard on Hall Road. Because Lug was current on his rabies shots, the dog was quarantined at home for a several days after the incident, Nicholson said.

Sacha moved to Kelso afterward, and the Humane Society received a complaint Feb. 7, 2011, about her dogs running loose and being aggressive in her new neighborhood. Later, a mailman reported a minor bite from Cowboy, Nicholson said. A man reported Marley bit him on the arm Sept. 6 after he entered Sacha's yard on Elm Street.

Nicholson said he didn't take Lug and Marley into custody immediately after the attack on Elders because she (Sacha?) wouldn't answer her door. When he showed up with Kelso police Nov. 21, Nicholson took Lug into custody because he wasn't current on his rabies shots but left Marley on house quarantine. The next day, Nicholson served Sacha notice that he'd declared the dogs potentially dangerous. She was told she had until Nov. 28 to meet the requirements for such dogs or they'd be euthanized, he said.

When Sacha missed the deadline, the Humane Society impounded both dogs and filed a criminal citation. Sacha finally registered the dogs and met the other requirements Dec. 3.

If Sacha loses her appeal Jan. 26, the dogs will be returned to her but she must reimburse the Humane Society for boarding the dogs for two months, Nicholson said. If Sacha lets the dogs run loose or otherwise breaks the restrictions for dangerous dogs, they'll be impounded again.

Anyone who's been bitten by the dogs is urged to notify the Humane Society, he said. The number is 360-577-0151.

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