Dog attack victim finds law is not on her side

Dog attack victim finds law is not on her side


MILWAUKIE, Ore. - A woman who had her face practically ripped off by a neighbor's Rottweiler is finding out that the law is not on her side.

Michelle Walker's face, which required 200 stitches to put back together, is now a maze of scars and it is all because of the dog that lives across the street.

"I'm just glad I have a good spirit because I'm not feeling very pretty anymore," Walker said.

Three weeks ago, Walker had walked up her driveway to pick up her mail when she saw her neighbor across the way. She asked for, and got, permission to pet the neighbor's dog, which was in the back of a pickup truck. That is when the dog attacked.

"And he took my lip off and half my cheek," Walker said. "You could stick a rod right through it."

Animal control officers put the dog, named Kerby, in quarantine, but decided the dog was not at fault because the incident happened on the owner's property.  Kerby is now back home.

"In Kerby's case, this was a first incident," said Diana Hallmark with Clackamas County Dog Control. "We've never had anything reported on Kerby previously or on his owner."

Oregon state law gives the benefit of the doubt to a dog on its first attack. The so-called 'one free bite law' means dog owners are not financially liable for damage caused by their animals if it is the first incident. That law may be changed this year, but not in time for Walker.

The dog's owner, Larry Quigley, would not speak with KATU News on camera, but did tell us off camera that Kerby was simply defending his property and that Walker should have been more careful.

"I think it's very unfair," Walker said. "I just can't even imagine having a heart to bring a dog home who could do that to a person."

Walker faces months of reconstructive surgery following the attack and her medical bills are mounting.

On a side note, dangerous dogs now count as dangerous weapons in Washington state.  The State Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that a dog is an instrument that can be used to hurt or kill someone. 

Although the ruling does not specifically target Pit Bulls, it is based on a case where a man ordered his Pit Bull to attack a police officer serving an arrest warrant.

Donations to help offset
Michelle Walker's medical costs can be made at Sweet Sunsations Tanning, 17046 Southeast Mcloughlin Boulevard in Portland.