The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Pitbull attack on small dog spurs town action


December 19, 2019

Following an attack that led to the death of a small dog, the Town of Cathlamet is moving to enforce its ban of pitbulls in the town limits.

The attack occurred on the evening of Dec. 8 at the DeBriae Fire Hall. Carol Wegdahl was inside the hall to collect materials for a first aid class she was scheduled to teach. Her husband, Bob was outside loading materials into their car with their small mixed breed dog, Roxie, who was on a leash by the car. The sounds of children playing came from across the street.

Suddenly, Bob Wegdahl told the Cathlamet Town Council on Monday, a pitbull appeared out of nowhere. Startled, he jumped away, and the pitbull clamped its jaws around Roxie.

Carol Wegdahl told the council that she heard the sounds of a dog fight and ran outside to see Bob unsuccessfully trying to get the pitbull to release Roxie, A man appeared and pulled Roxie free.

The Wegdahls retreated into the fire hall where Carol examied Roxie. Although she wasn't bleeding, Carol could tell bones were broken and Roxie was bleeding internally.

The Wegdahls telephoned their vet, Dr. Katie Stephens, who lives in Cathlamet, and they took Roxie to her.

"It took Dr. Katie less than a minute to tell us Roxie's injuries were hopeless," Carol said, and they proceeded to put Roxie down.

"Approximately 20 minutes after the pitbull attack, Roxie died in my arms with Bob's arms around us both," Carol said.

The Wegdahls said they know the town has an ordinance prohibiting pitbulls inside the city limits, and they want people to know about the ordinance.

"We're here to get the word out," Bob Wegdahl said.

There are people keeping pitbulls in town, with two residing within two blocks of the Wegdahl residence on South Second Street, Carol said.

"Bob and I don't blame the pitbull that killed Roxie," she said. "These dogs have been bred to kill.

"I am here tonight to ask my neighbors to start reporting these pitbulls to the police. I can't begin to worry what if that pitbull had attacked one of the children it had been playing with."

The Wegdahls also said they had reported the incident to the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office, and two deputies investigated.

Sheriff Mark Howie said this week that the dog belonged to a man visiting the family that lives in the neighborhood. The man and dog aren't local residents and have left the area, he said, but the family is cooperating with the investigation.

Under local ordinances, a dog making such an attack is to be quarantined for observation, and if declared a dangerous dog, it must be secured at all times [see town's pitbull ordinance at].

Town Attorney Fred Johnson said he would check with the sheriff's office to see if there is adequate evidence to prosecute. The town has two applicable ordinances, one concerning pitbulls and the other concerning dangerous dogs.

However, the town currently has no operative municipal court where the cases would be tried. Johnson said he has been negotiating with Wahkiakum District Court Judge Heidi Heywood about providing municipal court service.


Reader Comments(5)

FrankTheLocal writes:

Pitbull propaganda at it's finest. The past commentators contributions to the topic ring of K9 eugenics. Pitbulls are refered to as nanny dogs as was shown in the popular Little Rascals. There ARE cruel and irresponsible people who train and abuse these animals to fight and be aggressive. However, this is NOT a baseline trait of the breed and those who think so should do some ACTUAL research. Too bad there aren't any ordinances banning ignorant people who need to get a clue.

ThinkingBroad writes:

Judge the morality of a nation by how the animals are treated. Compassionate moral nations do not permit dog fighters to selectively breed for deadly, neutral ground unprovoked dog aggression. Pit bull puppies aren't born deadly but they're bred to develop the drive and ability to become deadly dog aggressive. It's cruel to breed more dog killing dogs and it's cruel to bring dog killing dogs into a community. Charge them with animal cruelty. Ban them from dog ownership for life.

ThinkingBroad writes:

Dog fighters, the true experts of unprovoked prolonged, suicidal, deadly dog aggression, know that pitbulls are different. That's why the kill or die trying type of dog fighter choose pits exclusively. Before pit bulls infested our communities and polluted the dog gene pool, the old dog interaction advice was to let the dogs work it out. Normal dogs never killed dogs on neutral ground. Never. No one who loves all dogs would want more dog killer dogs in a community.

NoWayJose writes:

Who VISITS someone in a different town and lets their dog run loose unsupervised. No one, not even a pit bull owner. That dog lives there locally and the investigators were lied to.

Harve writes:

Pit bull owners consider themselves above the law. This is demonstrated daily in pit attacks. The pit propaganda machine is well endowed with money to buy off officials and this has been demonstrated in other cities of WA. Pit bulls are a menace to public safety, the dog of Mayhem. Never meant to be a pet but the money of the dog fighters support those bleeding heart rescuers to save them all. The more pits, the less people pay attention to the pits of the dog fighters.


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