By Todd Wels
Triplicate staff writer
KLAMATH Addie Walker believes she will never completely recover from her encounter with the dark side of mans best friend.
The 68-year-old Klamath Glen resident was mauled by a neighborhood dog last Thursday, sustaining extensive injuries to her left leg, foot and shoulder, which will require surgeries and skin grafts to repair. Neighbors contend the dog who injured Walker had routinely terrorized the community and had bitten more than five other people.
There is no doubt in my mind I am never going to get over this, Walker said Tuesday from her bed at Sutter Coast Hospital, where she was transported after the attack.
The attack occurred as she was returning a folding table to a neighbor on Terwer Riffle Road. As she was walking away from the front door, the dog, a lab mix named Tip by his owner, Mark Sanderson, ran from Sandersons house across the street and, without barking or growling in advance, attacked her.
The dog tore the flesh from a large portion of Walkers shin and foot. According to Walker, the dog bit her hard enough to break fragments away from her shin bone.
I guess I went into shock, she said. All I could think of was to start screaming.
Those screams attracted the attention of a neighbor who managed to kick the dog away from her.
The dog then ran around the house, returning to tear open Walkers shoulder with its teeth.
I honestly believe that dog tried to kill me, she said.
Once the dog was chased off, neighbors called the Klamath Volunteer Fire Department and an ambulance, which transported Walker to Sutter Coast Hospital.
Animal Control personnel have taken the dog to the Del Norte County Dog Pound, where he is currently quarantined to rule out the risk of rabies.
Walker is the second person to be hospitalized this year after being attacked by the dog.
Neighbors said the dog had bitten at least six people in the time the Sanderson family had owned it.
Its not the first time it has attacked a lady or anything, said neighbor Shelly DeVol, who lives several houses down on Terwer Riffle Road.
Klamath Volunteer Fire Department volunteer Brandon Shafer said he responded to the attack on Walker as well as that of the previous victim, who was bitten approximately two months ago.
Shafer said Sanderson was inconsistent in making sure the dog remained on his property.
Theyd keep it tied for a while and then theyd let it loose, he said.
Rick Alcala, who lives nearby, said he had seen first-hand the consequences of letting the dog roam.
Alcala was the first neighbor to respond to the previous attack, which was also on an elderly female.
I heard someone screaming and I thought someone had been beat up, he said.
When Alcala arrived on the scene, which was just outside the Sandersons yard, the dog had already inflicted several bites on the victim.
You should have seen the dog bites on her; they were serious, he said.
Several neighbors said they were afraid to walk through the neighborhood.
Nobody walks around here no more, Alcala said.
Walker said neighborhood residents also alerted tourists who visited the neighborhood.
They see strangers walking down, they warn them, she said.
Walker said the dog has been impounded at least once before, and was returned to Sanderson after the mandatory 10-day quarantine period.
I just cant see how they keep letting him get that dog back when it goes around biting everybody, she said.
County Poundmaster Glenn Anderson said the case will be investigated by Animal Control personnel, with an eye toward a hearing involving the owner and the victim that will determine whether the dog is legally potentially dangerous or vicious.
County Ordinance 8.04.200 defines a potentially dangerous dog as. Any dog which, when unprovoked chases or assaults any person anywhere other than on the property of the owner or keeper or Any dog which when unprovoked has bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise attacked a domestic animal off the property of the owner or keeper.
If a dog is certified as vicious by the poundmaster, that does not necessarily mean that dog will be destroyed.
The owner can keep the dog if the owner agrees to a set of conditions, which include building an escape-proof fence and taking out a $100,000 insurance policy on the dog, Anderson said.
According to a friend of Sandersons daughter, the family was aware of the dogs nature. According to her, the daughter had taken the online name of Tip Bites.
When asked to comment on the attack, Mark Sanderson replied: We have no comment.