REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: Adding potential fines for charges, why dangerous dog not charged)
A 41-year-old Redmond man went to authorities amid public and media scrutiny and was cited for his dog's fatal attack on another dog last month at Cline Falls State Park, officials said.
Seth Collins contacted the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office on Friday to identify himself as the owner of the mastiff-husky mix, Stratos, involved in the June 22 attack that left Bobbie Person's yellow lab, Butter, with fatal injuries, said sheriff's Lt. Ty Rupert.
"Collins was cooperative and met with a deputy in person after seeing the story in the media and hearing the extent of the injuries to Pierson's dog," Rupert wrote in a news release Saturday.
After the incident, Collins told deputies, he "left the area to avoid a confrontation with Pierson and did not realize the extent of the injuries inflicted to Pierson's dog," Rupert wrote.
Collins was issued citations for animal at large and animal nuisance, the lieutenant said.
Rupert also said Collins' second dog on the scene, a border collie, was not involved in the attack, corroborating Pierson's account of the incident.
Animal at large is a Class A violation and carries a potential fine of $435, Rupert said, while animal nuisance is a Class B violation with a possible $260 fine.
The more serious charge of "dangerous dog does not fit the criteria in this case, as the owner does not have a prior conviction," the lieutenant said.
After learning of the charges, Pierson provided this statement Saturday to NewsChannel 21:
"I would like to tell the community a heartfelt thank you for the outpouring of support I've received," she wrote. "I've gotten email from total strangers wishing me condolences and offering to help. It's been overwhelming and extremely touching and has given me strength through his very difficult time."
Bobbie Pierson has been bringing her dogs to Cline Falls State Park for years now.
On June 22, her yellow lab, Butter, was attacked while laying down by the riverbank.
Pierson, a resident of Crooked River Ranch, said Tuesday a dog she believed to be a brown pit bull attacked her dog before she was even able to react to the situation.
“Nobody could get involved, because the guy was trying to separate them, and he had them up in the air, swinging them around by their collars," Pierson said. "When it was finally over ,he took off fast, because he knew my dog was hurt. I didn’t realize my dog was hurt. And we put her in the car, and I saw that her ear was split completely open, her whole ear.”
Unfortunately, Buttercup was not able to survive surgery and, according to Steve Myrin at Terrebonne Veterinary Clinic, she died the following day.
Pierson said she has had a tough time dealing with her loss and is devastated by it.
Now, she is hoping that she will be able to find the man who is responsible for harming her dog.
“He obviously has a dangerous dog, and people need to be on the lookout for this red Jeep Cherokee with California plates," Pierson said. "And hopefully let the police know if they see him."
Sheriff's Lt. Joe DeLuca said the man was described as a white male in his early 30s.
While the state park has leash laws, there is a gray area when it comes to keeping your dogs off-leash and allowing them to swim in the river.
Pierson said she hopes that letting people know about what happened to her dog will make a difference, and that no other dog owners have to deal with this situation.
The park host and ranger at Cline Falls State Park said they are aware of the situation, and are being more diligent about enforcing leash laws at the park.