ELLSWORTH — A Hancock woman ended up in the hospital after attempting to take a dog out as a favor to a friend. Lisa Williams was bit on the arm and the leg on April 17 at an Ellsworth residence and taken to a local hospital by paramedics called to the scene. Now she is shaken and wondering why she was told the impetus was on her to get a court order to have the dog euthanized.
Williams sustained nerve and tissue damage to her arm, which she described as “shredded” to The American. She said the dog is dangerous and should be euthanized before it can hurt anyone else.
However, dogs are considered personal property, so a court order is needed for euthanizing, said City Manager Glenn Moshier, who also acts as police chief.
Dog bite cases can be civil or criminal, but Moshier said most are considered civil, leaving it up to a citizen to file a complaint and go through the civil court process. This particular case was forwarded to the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether to pursue charges based on the state’s dangerous dog statute. If that happens, Moshier said, it is in the dog owner’s interest to have the dog euthanized prior to any court proceedings. But, he added, dangerous dog cases “typically require more than one incident.” The dog in question has not been cited for biting or other dangerous behavior prior to this incident, which unfolded as follows:
On April 17, Ellsworth Police Officer Adam Bouchard responded to Gameston Park Road following a report of “a male hollering that a female had been bitten by a dog,” according to his report filed with the department.
The dog, named Brutus, is kept in his kennel, Williams told Bouchard. The owner of the home where the dog was kenneled told Bouchard the dog belonged to her son, who was in jail at the time of the attack.
Williams told Bouchard that the dog charged her after she let him out of his kennel, knocking her down and biting her upper arm. She was able to kick him away, but he then bit her leg. She then hit him until he let her go and went back inside.
Her injuries were “by far the most horrific dog bites I’ve seen,” Moshier said. “It was a vicious attack with significant damage. She’s fortunate to be alive.”
That said, criminal prosecution is not a given despite the extent of her injuries.
“You have a lot of complicated factors,” Moshier continued, like the fact that the dog was in his home at the time of the incident. “It’s simply not a cut-and-dried matter.”
The dog’s owner signed a quarantine notice for the animal on April 18 after the owner was released from jail and informed of the state law on keeping dangerous dogs. Meanwhile, the woman who allegedly requested that Williams take the dog out as a favor told Bouchard on April 19 she had not made the request.
“I told her this is different than what she told me on the day it happened,” Bouchard reported. In addition, Williams said she has texts from the woman asking her to take out the dog. She also told Bouchard she has hired an attorney for a civil case to cover her medical expenses.
“I’m not mad at that dog,” she told The American. “I feel bad for him.”
As no criminal charges have been filed, police did not release the names of the dog owner or the homeowner of the residence where Brutus is kept.