A 20-year-old Oak Harbor man accused of abandoning his dogs in a state park, leading to the park’s temporarily closure after a biting incident, is facing a series of gross misdemeanor charges.
Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes cited Dominick-Francis Fausto with two counts of animal cruelty in the second degree, as well as two counts of violating the Island County code regarding “control off premises” of pets.
Fausto pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month in Island County District court.
Barnes confirmed that Fausto had the dogs euthanized after they were released to him last month.
Barnes said Fausto admitted to leaving his two dogs and a bag of dog food at Fort Ebey State Park after they had attacked a neighbor and injured his newborn child. The German shepherd/pitbull mixes were litter mates.
The stressed-out dogs then attacked two hikers on a trail in the park. One of the hikers had to get stitches for a bite wound.
Park rangers closed the park as they searched for the dogs. At one point, a ranger had to pepper spray the pooches because they were aggressive.
The dogs started roaming into the neighboring areas, prompting Barnes, the sheriff and a specialist from the USDA Wildlife Services to join in the dog-hunt. A resident of the neighborhood was able to make friends with the dogs, allowing the animal control officer to catch the pooches with the help of some cookies.