EXCLUSIVE: Survivor Of Pit Bull Attack Speaks With The B-Town Blog, Part 1
Story and Photos by Mark Neuman
I sat down recently for an exclusive interview with one of the survivors of a beating and animal attack last summer in the SeaTac neighborhood.
The attack has made famous a Pit Bull named Snaps (read our previous coverage here), and resulted in a teenage girl being sentenced to over a year in jail.
To begin to understand what happened that June 21, a sunny Sunday evening, one must realize that Inga Isakson has been, informally, a rescuer of abused dogs for some time.
â€œIn the past, I have offered to BUY dogs from people when itâ€™s obvious theyâ€™ve been mistreating them,â€ Inga said over coffee in a Burien restaurant.
â€œI have rescued dogs for about ten years all by myself. I have taken many of the dogs to a halfway house in north Seattle where a kind and wonderful elderly gentleman takes care of them.
â€œJune 21st was Fatherâ€™s Day. It also happened to be the longest day of the year,â€ Inga said. â€œIt was really hot and really light out. I was going to run my (two) dogs at around 6pm or so. I was in my car drivingâ€ southbound through the Sea-Tac area, north of the airport.
â€œI noticed movement to my right. All I could see were silhouettes behind a tree covered with ivy.â€
The silhouettes, as it turned out, were those of a then 15-year old girl and three younger boys. The were kicking and beating a Pit Bull, about a year old.
â€œSo I understood these kids were hiding. If I were an artist I would draw the silhouettes because the image is stuck in my mind,â€ Inga recollected. â€œThese four silhouettes images were bent over. Eight fists and eight feet pounding and pummeling some living thing on the ground.
â€œAnd so I slowed down to get to the other side of the tree to see what was going on. I did not know if they were beating up a child or what.â€
Inga pulled her car closer to the four young people.
â€œI realized it was a dog and I realized I needed to think fast. I did not want to seem to be challenging them. I knew they were doing something wrong.
â€œI rolled down the passenger side window about ten inches. The door was locked.
â€œI needed the dog to not be with them. I also knew there were four of them and one of me.
â€œI called out: â€˜Are you kids okay?â€™ Really, I wanted to say something else. I did not want them to feel they were in a fight with me,â€ Inga told us. â€œThe oldest, who was a young woman (fifteen years of age), came so close to my car window, she was in my space, that close.
â€œAnd it bothered me. I felt challenged, which I tried to avoid. I was trying to be nice.
â€œHer face was right in my window. She said â€˜What do you want, bitch? This is none of your business. I can kill my dog if I want to.â€™
â€œShe was screaming at me: â€˜What are you, the cops?â€™
â€œâ€˜I could be,â€™ I responded. â€˜Would you like me to call them?â€™
â€œShe reached in through my passenger window and unlocked my door. Oh boy!
â€œShe just jumped in my car and grabbed me by my hair. Started ripping my hair out and screaming at me: â€˜You bitch! You bitch! I wish you were dead!â€™
â€œI had my cell phone in my left hand. I extended my left arm away from her and tried to dial 9-1-1 with my left hand.
â€œShe was yanking at me. My seat belt, which was still fastened, was kind of hanging me.
â€œBut she saw the cell phone in my hand so she let go of my hair and grabbed the cell phone out of my hand.
â€œShe had ripped a lot of the hair out of the right side of my head. She started hitting me on the right side of my head with my cell phone, while pulling my hair with her free hand.
â€œThe attack Â seemed to last two minutes. I was able to unfasten my seat belt and was able to elbow her with my right arm.â€
Inga ran from her car and managed to get to middle of Des Moines Memorial Drive screaming â€œcall 9-1-1! Call 9-1-1!â€ over and over.
â€œI thought it (the attack) was over. Then she (the girl) ran around the back of my car and attacked me again.
â€œThe girl kneed me. I put my hands up to cover my head.
â€œMeanwhile, my brain said there are cars stopped. Someone has GOT to help me!â€ Inga said.
â€œThere were about seven cars, three or four stoppedâ€ in both the northbound and southbound lanes.
She estimated the attack in the street lasted seven minutes.
The people in the seven cars watched, apparently doing nothing to help her. This was in a residential area with houses set back from the road.
â€œIâ€™ll never forget this one woman in a grey sedan, just her, no passengers in her car,â€ Inga recalled. â€œShe was about in her mid-50â€™s with blondish or grey curly hair. She just sat there and watched and did nothing.
â€œShe seemed embarrassed! Like a wimp! She could have honked her horn or driven slowly into the gang. She just sat there.
â€œI had my arms over my head to protect myself while the girl was hitting me on my head and I looked down to my left. And there was the dog, just looking up at me with his tongue hanging out, panting the way a dog does. It was like he had a smile on his face and he just wanted to play.
â€œThe girl was yelling at me: â€˜I wish you were dead!â€™
â€œThe dog had a clear shot at my face. I thought â€˜this dog could bite my face off.â€™
â€œThen one kid kicked the dog three times really hard until the dog bit me in the leg.
â€œI think the dog was just confused. He was just happy not to have all four beating on him.â€
A red pick up truck appeared, driving along the shoulder. The driver got out.
â€œA guy in his forties started yelling â€˜The cops are here! The cops are here!â€™ He meant the cops were on their way, but that was enough to get the four kids running off along with the dog into a park.
â€œThen this wonderful lady drove up in a van, right at the time the kids ran away with the dog into the park,â€ Inga said.
â€œThis lady (in the van) had such a look of conviction on her face. I saw that she was not going to let this happen. She was not going to let these kids get away.
â€œShe took her van and drove it right across the park and into the woods. I didnâ€™t see it, but she confronted the kids.
â€œShe was not going to let them out of her sight. I was told later that this woman got out of her van. She said to the kids: â€˜I wonâ€™t approach you, and donâ€™t approach me. Youâ€™re not getting away with this.â€™â€
Meanwhile the paramedics had arrived and were treating Inga. â€œI was kind of â€˜shocky.â€™ My left arm was bleeding from the girl scratching me,â€ Inga said.
â€œI looked over, and here comes the woman (who had driven up in the van) walking towards us through the woods. She just kind of â€˜appeared,â€™ and she was covered with blood.
Moments earlier, in the park, with the womanâ€™s teenage daughter watching from inside the van, she, too, was attacked by the girl and the dog.
â€œI saw her and I said to the paramedics â€˜Leave me! Go help her! Iâ€™m okay!
â€œThat woman was my hero. That wonderful woman made the mistake of getting out of her van.
â€œShe did the mother thing in the woods. She said â€˜You kids stay right there.â€™ The girl jumped up and head butted her and broke her nose.
â€œThe kids all kicked and beat her and kicked the dog until he finally bit the womanâ€™s arm bad, clear through to the bone.
â€œI called her later,â€ Inga said. â€œShe has lots of family and support and wants to keep to herself. Her daughter was in the van and saw her mom beaten and attacked.
â€œI step up always,â€ Inga said. â€œI would do the same thing again. That group of kids could have killed somebody another time.â€
Next: Inga speaks at the sentencing hearing and, later, corresponds with the girl.
Read Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Inga here.