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home : current news : current news November 25, 2015

7/23/2013 11:51:00 AM
Aggressive dogs pose a threat
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

Folks in Sisters love to walk in the woods or ride their bikes on roads and trails. Such excursions can turn scary when they are accosted by aggressive dogs, roaming at large.

Erin Bordonaro of Sisters reported a frightening incident that took place when she was walking her dog in Crossroads earlier this month.

"I was walking Shelby, my dog, by myself on one of the dirt roads in Crossroads, which is kind of in the forest," she told The Nugget. "She was off-leash and I saw two dogs running full speed toward us."

Bordonaro said she grabbed Shelby's collar as the two dogs, described as a boxer-pit bull mix, neither wearing a collar, approached. They sniffed at Shelby, then became aggressive, barking, circling and charging at Bordonaro and her dog. She put her dog on her leash and tried to walk away.

"That didn't work," she said. "They became more aggressive when I turned my back. They were in the pack mentality."

Bordonaro found herself up against a tree, with Shelby trying to jump into her arms, the dogs circling and charging at her. She was fending them off with a stick.

"I was screaming and yelling for somebody, but I was out there," Bordonaro said. "It was terrifying."

Bordonaro managed to get to the gate of her aunt's backyard. Her aunt rushed out and let her in.

"Thank God, they didn't touch me once," Bordonaro said. "I couldn't believe it."

She said that when she contacted the Crossroads homeowners' association to report the incident, she learned that a Crossroads resident had witnessed a cyclist on Highway 242 aggressively accosted by dogs reportedly matching the description of those involved in the Bordonaro incident.

Last March, dogs attacked five alpacas on the Reed Ranch off Highway 242 west of Sisters. Police and wildlife officers investigated the incident and it was they who determined that it was in fact a dog attack, according to a person familiar with the investigation. One of the alpacas was dead when found; the other four were so severely mutilated that they had to be put down.

Sergeant Troy Gotchy of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office told The Nugget that owners of dogs who roam and act aggressively may be cited, and the fines are "pretty hefty."

A dog-at-large violation carries a fine of up to $742, as does a citation for keeping a dangerous dog.

Proving a dog "dangerous" is a bit tricky.

"You kind of have to prove, number-one, that the owner knew, and, number-two, that there had been another incident," Gotchy said.

A dog that bites someone will be quarantined, and Oregon law allows property owners to kill dogs that chase or kill their livestock on their private property.

Sgt. Gotchy recommends that anyone who has an incident with an aggressive dog should call the sheriff's office immediately at 541-693-6911, so that animal control can respond effectively.

"Certainly the best way to go is to call us when it happens," he said.

Bordonaro is thankful that her son was not with her. She worries that someone with a child in tow could be attacked with tragic consequences.

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