- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon animal control officer is working to return a pit bull that killed a Pomeranian on a Portland streetcar to its owner in Colorado.

The owner adopted it from the Longmont Humane Society several years ago and wants it back, said shelter Director Sarah Clusman. It had an embedded microchip, so animal control workers could trace it.

Officials wouldn’t disclose the owner’s name, citing privacy regulations.

The pit bull was reported missing in June and turned up in Portland under clouded circumstances.

Officials in Colorado were told it was living with a group of homeless youths on Portland streets, The Oregonian reported (https://bit.ly/1vrOWKh) Tuesday.

A 16-year-old girl had the pit bull aboard the streetcar last week and left after the dog put its jaws over the head of a black Pomeranian and clamped down. The owner took the Pomeranian to an emergency veterinary hospital, but it couldn’t be saved.

The girl cried when officers tracked her down and told them the pit bull “has never done this before,” a police report says.

Police say they haven’t decided whether to file charges or issue citations.

The dog remains at the county shelter in Oregon, said Mike Oswald, director of Multnomah County Animal Control who’s working with Colorado counterparts to send it home.

The pit bull qualifies is a potentially dangerous dog, Oswald said. That’s defined as one that aggressively bites any person, or kills or causes the death of any domestic animal.

Oswald said it would be subject to restrictions in Oregon such as wearing a muzzle and being kept in a secure enclosure with the property posted. It’s not clear whether the owner would be subject to restrictions in Colorado, although laws there are similar, he said.

A potentially dangerous dog whose owner doesn’t honor restrictions or that continues aggressive behavior can be euthanized and the owner fined, Oswald said.

The pit bull in last week’s attack doesn’t fall into the definition of a “dangerous dog,” defined as one that injures or kills a person or is used in a crime. That designation can lead to euthanasia.

“A small dog was killed - it’s horrible and should not have happened,” said Britta Bavaresco, co-founder of the Animal Shelter Alliance, “But the pit bull may have been fighting for her life, it could have been confused or stressed. But in plain speak, the dog is not returning to our streets.”


Information from: The Oregonian, https://www.oregonlive.com

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