LETTER: Pit Bull Victim’s Husband Rips Into City About Animal Control

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Image from a poster made by letter Writer Walter Cunningham.

Yet another article concerning Burien’s animal control.

Reading this from an intern made me sick:

“Dr. Kasper has euthanized many healthy dogs due to requiring additional space for her boarding dogs. These dogs were great dogs and very healthy. They have paid the ultimate price due to the horrible management of the animal control services taking place at Companion Animal Medical Center”

But yet Burien deems a dog “dangerous” and then releases it ??? WOW!

BURIEN what gives you the RIGHT? to take a “dangerous dog” that caused serious injury and disfigurement to someone in your community, and release it into someone else’s community !!! Don’t tell me it’s the law. Burien had the option well within the law to euthanize a vicious, uncontrollable, aggressive, “dangerous dog” that was harmful to the community.After deeming the dog “dangerous” Burien decided to return it back to the owners, with an order to remove the dog from the city after violating city code. Was this dog dangerous, aggressive, vicious, or uncontrollable? There was a hearing held at Burien’s city hall Sept. 21st, 2010 where the owners of the dog appealed the decision to remove the dog from the city for violating city code, in which Burien upheld their decision to release the dog and ban it from the city. Here is a quote from Leslie Kasper (Buriens lame Animal control authority) referring to the dog at the hearing. “We were not able to move him between kennels or cages without being on a catch pole which is a long ridged pole used for animal control” Another quote from Chris Ingalls reporter from KING 5 news after the same hearing. “Animal control here in Burien says because of the viciousness of the attack and the aggressive nature of the animal it declared this dog dangerous in the eyes of the law” James Lynch of Fox news reports, “It’s probably some of the worst injuries that I have ever seen in a pitbull attack. “KOMO News Commentator Ken Schram,”What the heck are they thinking” “The owner of the pit bull was told to get the dog out of the city.””What the hell is the sense of that?” “Sending a dangerous dog off to be some other city’s problem is an asinine and stupid policy.” Jeanette’s Attorney, Chris Davis after the hearing.” The city is simply avoiding it’s responsibility to the public at large by allowing the dog to be shipped off to another jurisdiction and letting that jurisdiction deal with a potentially lethal animal.”

A blog posting from one of the first two EMTs to respond to the scene. Kman says: ” I was one of the 2 first EMTs on scene to render aid to this patient. This dog was extremely aggressive and we were very concerned about our and the patient’s continued safety with this animal within striking distance. This poor woman will be disfigured for life and someone actually wants to keep this dog alive? Nurture or nature, folks it doesn’t matter…if a human had done this they would be locked up for aggravated assault and quite possibly attempted murder (doing 10+ in Walla Walla). Burien, pull your head out! Human Beings are lives, animals (especially vicious ones), are property. Protect your citizens and destroy a hazard that can cause further tragedy!!! ” End of EMTs statement.

A blog posting from a neighbor next-door to the owners of the dog. JD says: “This story is about the ridiculousness of Burien’s animal control law. This dog should be put down because it is dangerous and will harm another person if given the opportunity. I know the dog, the owners and I’ve met Jeanette. It’s all around a very bad situation. This dog was left outside day and night with little human interaction. It would bark for hours for no apparent reason and just prior to the attack it was sick or injured and acting strangely. I know this because I lived next to the dog. Go ahead blame Kiko, the breed or the owners but it’s not going to improve Jeanette’s situation. The city council needs to recognize that Burien has released a dangerous dog to another community where it can attack another human. This is ridiculous and wrong; all of us citizens will pay the price when the city is sued for a ton of money the next time Kiko attacks.” End of neighbors statement.

Before the incident on July 24th, 2010 involving Jeanette Cunningham,this dog had all ready bit two neighbors. One of the neighbors is (Buriens lame Animal control authority) Leslie Kasper’s aunt that was bit. So even though there were no formal complaints, she knew of this incident, besides the dog jumping up and nipping her in the arm the night she went to seize the dog from the owners.(as she stated in the hearing)

This removal order requires proof of both, the violation (which is obvious) and the appropriateness of the remedy animal control has imposed (which is irresponsible and WRONG). This removal order does not take any measures to prevent future neglect, abuse, animal care, or owner control. These dog owners do not believe their dog to be dangerous, or the owners to be neglectful. So the perception is that these animal care and control laws are for ‘other’ dogs, problem dogs, but not their dog.Burien’s dangerous dog laws, and animal care and control laws are a feel-good attempt to show the community that the authorities are taking action. Animal care and control laws are intentionally ‘ vague’ and ‘ interpretive ‘ by animal control authorities. Thus the facts of alleged animal care and control , is rarely ‘ pure ‘, and are a personal (opinion) ‘ interpretation ‘ of the animal control authority. In fact , many animal care and control city ordinances are flawed and may be considered unconstitutional for failure to provide victims notice and hearing before or after the release of an uncontrollable biting or vicious dog. However most cities do not release an uncontrollable or vicious dog that has caused serious injury and disfigurement to someone. Jeanette thought she was going to bleed to death before she could get medical attention that night. What has to happen to a person besides their face being permanently disfigured and scared for life, does someone have to die? before Burien determines that a vicious animal in violation does not belong in anyone’s community. Jeanette believes she took that bite so that she might have saved a child’s life, and part of the emotional healing is knowing that that dog can not hurt or possibly kill any other human being. She is having a tough time healing her emotional scars knowing that this dog has been set free. Every city and state should have a “dangerous dog” law that provides sufficient protection to the community. Burien’s city council members remind me of a bunch of 7th graders giving themselves an award before the community has even tested their new policies. Except for council member Lucy Krakowiak the only one on the council that has common sense.

For those readers that are not familiar with Jeanette Cunningham’s incident. On July 24th, 2010 at 8:55pm Jeanette Cunningham was the victim of an unprovoked attack by a pitbull mix on a public street in Burien.The dog was off of the owners property after leaving the property through an open gate while the owners were not home.After the attack, a 9-11 emergency call was made, medical aid arrived at the scene, but Burien police did not respond to the scene, Burien animal control did not respond to the scene. About 9:30pm Jeanette arrived at the trauma center at Harborview Hospital. I arrived at the same time the ambulance got there,as soon as I saw my wife covered in blood from her face to her feet I knew this was serious. She was in a state of shock, she pulled the gauze away from her face and said ” my lip is gone.” With her mouth closed you could see her bottom teeth, her gums, and part of her jaw. This was a life changing incident and I did everything I could to calm her until they could admit her. Once she was admitted, sometime after that Burien animal control was called to go seize the dog. Leslie Kasper( Burien’s lame Animal control authority) arrived at the dog owners home at the same time the owners of the dog arrived home, 11:36pm. The owners were not willing to give up the dog, so she called the King County Sheriff’s office for assistance, they arrived at 11:45pm and cleared the mess up at 12:05 am. Before police arrived Leslie Kasper was standing at the fence trying to convince the dog owners to give up the dog, and the dog jumped up at her and nipped her in the arm. Even after police responded to assist Leslie with help seizing the dog, police did not file an incident report concerning the initial incident. Meanwhile Jeanette was sitting there suffering in a trauma situation waiting for Burien’s Animal control to call the hospital back concerning rabies before they could proceed with surgery, 2 1/2 – 3 hrs waiting in trauma. So just realize that if you are ever attacked by a vicious dog in Burien be sure to make three 9-11 emergency calls,one for medical aid, one for Burien police assistance, and one for Buriens lame animal control assistance.

The city of burien’s bizarre “dangerous dog”decision is ridiculous and completely irresponsible. I want the city of Burien to know that they are the blame for putting my wife through emotional distress because of the horrible polices the city council has adopted. Burien’s city council voted not to join the new Regional Animal Services of King County. Instead they have patched together a makeshift system that let them release a “dangerous dog” into another community where it can attack another innocent human being. This is ridiculous and WRONG. Putting a “dangerous dog” in someone else’s city is not sound business or law. My wife can not begin to heal her emotional wounds knowing that the city of Burien has put someones life in danger by allowing a “dangerous dog” to be relocated in another city. That’s another scar the city of Burien has added to my wife’s emotional state of mind besides the physical and emotional scars she has from being attacked by a”dangerous dog.”The city of Burien should focus on creating laws that protect society. People who suffer from emotional distress suffer real losses…. Burien’s dangerous dog ordinance needs to be amended SOON ! Call Burien’s city council and let them know it’s time to amend Ordinance No. 543….. PLEASE.

PS. I don’t need to blame the owners or the breed. I just realize that most of the negative comments will come from people that have not had someone they love for life permanently disfigured by a vicious dog. It’s about having the right to penalize the vicious dog and the owners instead of setting the dog free with no requirements regarding owner responsibilities other than to remove it from the city of Burien, and having someone else experience their loved one being scared and disfigured for life.So say all you want about poor dogs or bad owners, this article has very little to do with the breed and everything to do with vicious dogs that attack unprovoked.

Oh by the way, congratulations on your Schrammie award for your idiotic policies Burien.

– Walter Cunningham

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44 Responses to “LETTER: Pit Bull Victim’s Husband Rips Into City About Animal Control”
  1. Eaton B. Verz says:

    And these are the people who want to start a police force. Maybe Barney Fife will put in the lowest bid. The council has totally blown the whole animal control affiar. They were led down this path by Mr. Martin and the just followed him like lemmings. Now they choose to ignore public sentiment and say nothing. If I am wrong show me the facts (background check, credit check, test results on the animals,etc) and I will drop this issue. But the councils silence speaks volumes. I know I will remember this November 2011 and November 2013.I am working to get the word out and hope everyone writes or calls the council. We must stop this abomination!!

    • gator says:

      Eaton B. verz We love you man. Ps. That Thom Grey dude is awesome.

    • pittbulls revenge says:

      maybe someone should stand up for this dogs rights. his owner is stupid and did not train him well allowed him out without muzzle and leash,then he terrorizes this woman instead of verbal commands she screamed and brought on an attack. a pitt bull at an early age should follow voice commands if trained. this dog connot defend his self but shouldent have to. where its his owner who should be the focus of your anger….
      you should all be ashamed of your selfs calling for blood in a witch hunt that could have been avoided if the dog were in a loving home ! lemmings one and all……………..

  2. Julie Dosono says:

    I have been saying this for months please city of Burien get rid of this stupid animal control and go back to king county.At least king county partolled the streets and came right out if someone called about a vicious dog.This is so sad and there are still vicious dogs roaming the streets.And a dead possum on 4th ave S.W. has been there for 3 weeks nobody will pick it up.

  3. Willlllllllburrrrrrrr! says:

    It’s a shame the owners of the dog aren’t experiencing what Jeannette has had to endure. The dog needs to be put down, the taste of blood may come in the form of a child next time. I can’t believethe City of Burien Let this on slide……..

    • pittbulls revenge says:

      it realy makes me sick to hear people bad mouth an animal who cant stick up for its self.sometimes and this may come as a shock but there are these people out there who have no ability with a pit bull. there for they should not have them. i have two and no dead kids or injured people.so please you lemmings try to keep it down before someone see that you dont know what your talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  4. Anne says:

    Wow, that is horrible. I sure hope this does not happen to anyone else. I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to your wife. This is just horrible. I hope the city of Burien wakes up and does something with the animal control services. Seems to me like the wrong dog was euthanized. I will pray for your wife and family. What is the city doing about this and why was this dog released out into another community?

  5. Feral dog says:

    I asked the question why would they relocate that pit into another town and not just shoot it when the story first appeared here in the b-townblog. I`m as big an animal lover as anyone but when a dog bites,, it needs to be put down. I have put down a couple of my own dogs for the same reason. It doesn`t take rocket science to figure that one out.
    Regardless of what the rules are there are exceptions to EVERY rule and that dog definitely fit that mold.
    A question for you though Walter, what took you so long to pipe up about this?
    Got a shovel Julie? Whats stopping you from scooping it up? Don`t feel it`s your responsibility even though its been there 3 weeks? Anybody called and let them know it`s there?
    You know, by law you have the right to protect your property, just shoot the damn things.
    I had a neighbor move because I shot her dog in my front yard when it didn`t want to let my family out MY front door. This dog had been terrorizing the neighbors for a while and when it chose to move down to my place,, well,,,here`s what happened.
    My wife came in the back room and told me ***** dog`s in OUR front yard and he wouldn`t let them out of the house and will I do something like call ***** and tell her to come get her dog? I opened the front door and sure enough, there he was hair raised and teeth showing. I thought NOPE, no dog is holding my family hostage in our own home. So I called her.
    Only I told her she`s going to need a wagon to get it home. She moved a couple of weeks later.

  6. Pattyann says:

    You go Walter. It is not fair that you and your family have to live this day to day and the city of Burien has not even opened their mouths to try and make things better. I am sure that they think that you will eventually get tired of yelling and go away. DO NOT SHUT UP. You have a whole community behind you. Maybe one of these days Burien will grow some $&[email protected] and break their silence, or better yet do the RIGHT thing, so that Sweet Sweet Jeanette can really get on the road to recovery.

  7. Turkey says:

    I am so sick of these pit bull attacks where the dog is allowed to terrorize another community. This is a huge insult to Jeanette who should sue that animal control out of existence.

  8. feral dog says:

    As tragic as it may be it`s not the city of Burien`s or animal control`s fault what happened to Jeanette. That lays with the owners who knew they had an aggressive animal in the possession.
    But it was the city of Burien`s responsibility to destroy that pit after the fact and not schuck it off on someone else. You even see the justice system do the same thing with convicted criminals,,

    • pattyann says:

      You are correct that it was not the City of Burien’s fault that Jeanette was attacked, however it is their fault that Jeanette is still suffering. I don’t think that any of us can understand what she is going through emotionally. She on a daily basis has to think about that dog still being out there, ready to do the same thing again. And he will do it again. As Walter pointed out, this is not the first bite for this animal. The City of Burien had the chance and obligation to put an end to that. They chose not to do it. So they are responsible.

    • walter says:

      Nobody said it was Burien’s or animal controls fault that she was attacked ! It’s there fault for the way they handled it after she was attacked

    • doggy-doo says:

      ” But it was the city of Burien`s responsibility to destroy that pit after the fact and not (schuck it off on someone else.)”

      Yeah you only have to tell a dog once you know and they listen.

  9. JACKI COTE says:


  10. heidi says:

    I have a friend who use to live in Des Moines and his little dog that was minding his own business in his own yard was attacked and KILLED by a pit bull mix. the owner of the dog didnt know his dog got out of the house because he said he w…as sleeping and the owner of the dog had no fence around his yard. the city cited him and told him that he had to carry insurance on that dog because it was deemed a dangerous dog. and did i also tell you that his fines were waved because he was on DSHS and then when the city of Des Moines came back later to check on him to see if he had insurance(which cost a lot for a dangerous dogs) all of a sudden he had the money to pay for insurance on his dog who killed my friends dog…….Then the neighbor moved real quick after showing the insurance on the dog….the owner moved to another city…..which in other words since the owner moved he didn’t need to carry insurance anymore on the dog….so basically he got away scott free……there needs to be a law from the state of Washington telling owners of dangerous dogs that they need to registrar there dog through the state so that people know…. if a dog kills or attacks another human then it should be put down, because it will do it again…….This is a tragic of what happened to Jeanette, my heart goes out to her…..whether it is a dog being killed by another dog or a human being injured, the laws in Burien need to be changed……I question our people in Government there. What are they thinking??????

  11. vicki says:

    jeanette and walter I can’t believe the city actuall let this dog go. If the owner was any kind of decent human being he would’ve taken care of the problem himself in my opinion you want a dog that has the potential for being dangerous you take on the responsibility of having to rid it from doing any more harm to someone. I hope you get the peace you both deserve.

  12. Ed says:

    It is wrong what happened, the dog should have been put down. But looking at the city code BNC 6.05.300 (3) It appears that the City Counil 12/17/07 made removal from the city the law in Burien.

    Thislaw needs to be changed to give the Hearing Officer or Judge the option to put the animal down

    • gator says:

      The city could have determined that a dangerous dog needed to be destroyed and it would have been within the law.
      That’s why animal care and CONTROL laws are intentionally vague and interpretive, there are plenty of loopholes.

  13. Flabergasted says:

    This story makes me SICK!!!! If a Dog attacks unprovoked – DO NOT LET IT BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY – NOT ANY COMMUNITY! Just removing it from Burien doesn’t help this situation!! This is scary and lives are in danger. How totally Irresponsible of the owners, the police, animal control and the City of Burien! Ugh!!! I’m so frustrated and Upset about this!!!!

    Dear Lord, please be with Jeanette during her healing and please protect the new neighbors of this dog.

  14. Julie Dosono says:

    We called on a dead cat in front of my house they said to the road crew.I called them and they never came out so my husband burried the cat.The possum was on 4th ave south no where near my house I figured the police or city drive by it a 1,000 times and they can call because I give up with this Burien animal conrtol.

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      I went to our local Ace hardware one weekday morning and there was a city truck in the parking lot. I went inside and there was a man and woman from the road dept. drinking free coffee,eating free donuts,and leaning on the counter bsing. It didn’t bother me as I figured maybe break time. When I came back over an hour later they were still there bsing and the free donuts were gone. That might be why they cannot pick up the dead animals. It,s a shame innocent people like Jeanette suffer while the city council and city manager chose to ignore these things. Everyone should take a second to E-mail the city council and tell them how you feel!! It’s easy.. go to the city website (It’s linked on this blog) and on the city council page they have a link to E -mail the entire council. Nothing will change unless we put some heat on the council!! Please get involved!!!

  15. Joan says:

    WHAT CITY WOULD LET A DOG THAT DID THIS TO A HUMAN BEING INTO THEIR CITY ??? Where did this dog go?, I think the public has a right to know that !!!. Burien
    what a stupid decission.

    • JD says:

      Burien let this dog go to Yakima; where by the way Pit Bulls are actually banned from the city. Clearly there was no research done or further safeguards put into place by Animal Control or the City to ensure this dog is in a safe environment away from people.

  16. walter says:

    On July 1st Burien will offer full Animal Care and Control service,

    “Our city’s quality of life must include an effective program for lost and homeless pets as well as cases of cruelty and dangerous animals,” said Burien City Manager Mike Martin. “We hired a veterinarian who was raised in this area to manage a program that we believe could become a model for other governments.”

    YEAH you sure have an effective program for “dangerous animals” all right. Great model for other governments. If you want to do something for our city’s quality of life maybe you should start by protecting human health, safety,and welfare.

    • Tammy says:

      On behalf of my brother(Walter) & sister-in-law (Jeanette), I’am pleading with all those that believe a “humans” life is worth protecting more then a “dangerous dogs” life! To stand up and take action, for your rights & the rights of others and join together with Walter & Jeanette, to get these laws changed!! Please call or e-mail Burien”s City Council and tell them (IT’S TIME TO AMEND ORDINANCE NO. 543)!! Thank you for your support?

  17. Manuela says:

    Wow, I am speechless…. and that does not happen to me often!!!

  18. Jessica says:

    I want to know the names of the city council members or whoever made this decision to keep this dog alive. I will not be voting for them if/when they run for reelection. I think any half decent candidates could win an election against these people if they bring this subject up during the next election season. I’m really disgusted that dogs are put above people and I am a huge animal lover. I was bitten twice by dogs as a child and both times it was not taken seriously by anyone. I have small scars on my face from a daschund and that’s just from a small dog. My friend’s small dog bit her one year old’s face and that dog was out of the house forever in a matter of minutes. She said she could never trust that dog again and she had that dog for five years and spent a ton of money on clothes and fancy dog carriers on it. Anyone who want to keep an animal who is dangerous is probably a dangerous person themselves and probably thrives off of violance or they’re mentally ill.

    • Eaton B. Verz says:

      Jessica, Please E-mail the city council and let thm know how you feel! It only takes a second and remind them that you are a voter. If enough people voice their displeasure they cannot ignore it!

  19. joan says:

    Animal control of Burien is protecting a known dangerous dog and sending it out to kill ADULTS, KIDS, and OTHER PETS.

    • pattyann says:

      You are absolutely correct Joan. This is one of the things that is really playing hard on Jeanette’s ability to heal. After she was attacked, she kept thinking that because she was attacked, it saved someone else. She survived, but she thought at least this dog won’t do this or even something worse like kill someone now. She believed that the dog would be put down. It wasn’t and it is just out there in Yakama now waiting to do it to someone else. Jeanette should have at least been notified that the dog was going to be released so she may have had the chance to appeal that decision. The Garcias had their chance for an appeal, Jeanette should have at the very least been given the same opportunity.

  20. jeff says:

    They made a cost effective decision. You know city councel members, they got to look-out for the budget, not the people. Why don’t they just relocate the dog to the home of whatever idiot enacted that crazy policy?

  21. jeff says:

    Since the dog has been relocated….if it later hurts another person…..would Burien be sued? I would hope so. Burien is playing with fire here…. since they made the choice to not euthanize it!

  22. Walter & Jeanette says:

    Animals that can cause SERIOUS injury or kill people are like a loaded gun. Nothing guarantees the safety of the public from them, so consider this: When you relocate a “dangerous dog” you are not betting that the dog will not offend again you are betting some 8 year old’s life or some grandmothers life. Lets get these idiotic policies of Burien changed. Let the city council know that you value human health, safety, and welfare in every community. Please call or email: City manager (206) 248-5508 or City council (206) 248-5515 or send email to entire City council [email protected] ( This will appear in the public record ) Thank you.

  23. Walter says:

    Sorry about the double comment. I thougth the first comment would not submit because i had phone #’s in the comment .

  24. BS says:

    The Cunningham’s should include Burien in her law suit for not having this CLEARLY dangerous animal put down.

  25. john says:

    Society is a lamppost and the government has just lifted its leg up………..

  26. Star says:

    Okay, so if Burien really did not want to put the dog down….why not instead send it to the pit bull place on Whidbey? I don’t remember what it is called, but he takes aggressive pit bulls and re-trains them. He never releases them back out, he keeps them until they die of natural causes.

    That would have been better than leaving the dog with his owners to live in Yakima.

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