TROUTDALE, Ore. -- Multnomah County Animal Services officers are investigating a pit bull as a potentially dangerous dog after it attacked a Shetland sheepdog that later died from its injuries.
Anne Ziegler said Animal Control picked up the pit bull in question last Friday afternoon after it attacked her dog, Simon, while they were on a walk on Northeast Mason Street near 59th Avenue. Ziegler said the pit bull was loose and attacked without provocation. Simon was taken to an emergency vet clinic but later died.
"My whole life revolved around Simon," Ziegler said. "He was my best friend for five years - heartbreaking."
The On Your Side Investigators confirmed Tuesday the pit bull will stay at Multnomah County Animal Services headquarters in Troutdale until their officers investigate what happened. So far, no one has come forward to claim the pit bull.
"When we deal with cases where people are injured or animals are injured or killed, those are high priority cases,” said Multnomah County Animal Services Director Mike Oswald. “We've got officers working on it today; we had officers working on it a couple days before. We'll keep working on this until we contact the owner."
Oswald said animal control officers only have a few details about the dog since the pit bull doesn't have ID tags or a microchip; however, Oswald does believe the pit bull is someone's pet after they received a tip.
"We got called by someone in a household who we believe the owner lives at … we're trying to track down the owner and understand they're somewhere on the East Coast," Oswald said.
KATU went to the neighborhood where the attack happened, but of the half a dozen doors knocked on no one answered.
"Our job is to determine the best of our ability what happened and once we determine, we classify a dog at a certain level," Oswald said.
The On Your Side Investigators found there are four classifications for Potentially Dangerous Dogs according to Multnomah County code.
1. Dog is off leash and found to menace, chase, or show threatening behavior toward a person.
2. Dog is off leash and causes physical injury to a pet.
3. Dog is confined and aggressively bites a person.
4. Dog is off leash and aggressively bites a person or kills a pet.
If the pit bull is designated a potentially dangerous dog, Oswald said the owners will be ticketed and have to pay a fee of up to a $150 a year. They'll also have certain restrictions for keeping the dog.
According to the county ordinance, the dog must be confined to a secure enclosure, the owner must post warning signs where the dog is kept, and the owner must muzzle the dog and make sure it's on a proper leash when outside of the home.
On Tuesday, Ziegler said she'd received condolences about Simon from as far away as New York City and British Columbia thanks to social media.
"There's no way to ever replace a pet who's your dearest companion," Ziegler said.
Oswald said Multnomah County Animal Services sees about 800 to 900 dog bite cases each year. They also said they received roughly 1,200 reports of loose and aggressive dogs every year. Oswald said those numbers are not unusual for a community Portland's size. The On Your Side Investigators tried to get a break down of data by breed but that was not immediately available.
Read the Multnomah County Animal Services Ordinance
(scroll to page 15 through 18 for Potentially Dangerous Dogs)