Friday, January 15, 2021
Jan. 15, 2021

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Hoquiam family mastiff attacks two siblings, babysitter

Two others at home were not attacked, police say; dog was later euthanized

The Columbian

A large mastiff mauled and bit two siblings and their babysitter Friday afternoon in the 2300 block of Sumner Avenue in Hoquiam. Hoquiam Police Sgt. Jeff Salstrom, who rescued the children, fired a Taser and three shots into the dog in efforts to stop the attack, according to preliminary police reports.

A 3-year-old girl, her 8-year-old brother and a 15-year-old were taken to Grays Harbor Community Hospital. The boy’s wounds were described at the scene as “extensive.” Their current medical conditions were not available.

The dog, which belonged to the family, was euthanized by a veterinarian called to the scene, the report said.

A 2-year-old brother and his grandmother, also home at the time, were not attacked, police said.

The dog, owned by the parents, is “normally kept inside, but somehow escaped the home and possibly became enraged by the children who were jumping on a trampoline in the yard,” Chief Jeff Myers said in a news release.

Sgt. Salstrom “could hear frantic screaming over the noise of my patrol car, even with my windows up,” coming from the backyard of a fenced residence on the corner of 23rd and Sumner shortly after 4 p.m., his preliminary report said.

He could not unlatch the gate and jumped the fence.

A fawn-colored mastiff was “biting the head of” an 8-year-old boy, as his 3-year-old sister and their 15-year-old babysitter, who was armed with a rake, sought refuge in an open shed.

“I yelled at the dog as I ran up and it let go of the (boy’s) head but then immediately transitioned its bite to his thigh. (The boy) appeared to be bleeding profusely from the head and his jeans were covered in blood,” Sgt. Salstrom wrote.

He drew his Taser because the boy was in the line of fire.

“The Taser probes struck the dog causing it to release its bite but (the dog) was not completely immobilized.” It ran toward Salstrom and through some bushes. Salstrom wrote he thinks one of the Taser wires may have broken as “it appeared the Taser lost its effectiveness.”

The dog turned and charged him, “its face covered in blood.” Fearing for his safety and that of the children, “I drew my duty weapon and fired one round at the dog” which yelped and turned away.

Salstrom grabbed the boy and handed him to his grandmother, who had opened the back door. As he returned to help the girls, “the dog again came at me. I fired a second round at the dog which I believe struck it in the chest. . . The dog turned sideways to me and I fired a third round into its side, behind its right shoulder. . . This caused the dog to briefly stagger before it ran behind the shed.”

Salstrom called an ambulance and for additional police units.

The babysitter “was crying hysterically and pleading for me to help them. She was holding the rake in front of her. (The 3-year-old) appeared to be frozen in fear,” still but shaking visibly.

The babysitter had been bitten in her groin area, and the small girl bore bite marks on her torso and leg, the preliminary report said.