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The Blotter

The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

September 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

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Pit bull that mauled two women heading to animal sanctuary

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

Snaps, the pit bull that a Burien teenager trained to maul people on command, is scheduled to leave King County Animal Care and Control this afternoon so he can reside in Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Forks.

"He [Snaps] would be released to the sanctuary and he has to stay in the sanctuary for the rest of his life," said Nancy McKenney, interim director for King County Animal Care and Control. "He's not friendly and not a safe animal to be around."

McKenney said the male dog is smart, but unpredictable. She said the dog has "displayed aggressive tendencies" toward animal control employees since arriving at the shelter earlier this summer. McKenney said there has been a great interest in adopting the dog, but after two evaluations animal control workers have deemed the animal too vicious to be adopted into a family.

The dog's release from animal control comes two days after its owner, a 16-year-old girl, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault, one count of third-degree assault and one count of being a minor in possession of alcohol.

When sentenced on Oct. 8, the girl faces a standard sentencing range of 15 to 36 weeks in juvenile confinement. The girl is not being named because she is being prosecuted as a juvenile.

On June 21, a 63-year-old woman stopped her car when she saw the girl, then 15, and three boys kicking the dog on a SeaTac street, according to charging papers. When the woman asked if everything was OK, the girl cursed at the woman and told her to butt out, the papers say.

When the woman threatened to call police, the girl leaned into the car, yanked the woman's hair, grabbed her cell phone and beat her with it, according to the charging papers.

The girl kept assaulting the woman as she tried to escape through the car's passenger door, charging papers said. The dog then bit the woman on the thigh and hand.

The woman was treated at Highline Medical Center in Burien.

A 41-year-old motorist who confronted the youngsters as they walked away was also mauled, according to charging papers. That woman said the girl punched her in the face and head, knocking her down. She said the pit bull bit her on both arms, court papers said.

She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and required surgery, charging papers say.

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