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Dog euthanized after mauling Clinton young woman

Alex was euthanized Thursday for viciously attacking a young woman who was house sitting.  - Jim Larsen / Record file
Alex was euthanized Thursday for viciously attacking a young woman who was house sitting.
— image credit: Jim Larsen / Record file

The owner of the dog that chewed up a young Clinton woman had him euthanized by a veterinarian Thursday.

Carol Barnes, Island County Animal Control office, said the dog was declared dangerous and was ordered euthanized. The owner, Elisabetta Poggi-Blethen who lives on Deer Lake Road, brought the dog in herself, Barnes said.

Alex, described as an adult male guard dog of shepherd/husky mix, was chained to a wire runner in his yard. Two pups he sired were also chained. Amanda Gates, 19, was housesitting March 18 and noticed the pups were tangled. When she tried to straighten them out, Alex pulled his chain from the runner and attacked Gates.

Gates was knocked down and had to crawl and stagger to the road, with bites bleeding in her scalp and others on her arm and back. A good Samaritan driver, whose name was unknown at the time, stopped to help. There was also a nurse in the car.

Driver Scott Learned later told The Record about his experience. "We both saw this girl on the opposite side of the road moving toward us, waving her hand; she was crying out for help," he said.

The nurse, Sydney Anderson, tried to comfort the young woman and tend to her wounds as the dog circled around.

"The dog came right at me on Deer Lake Road," Learned said. "I kicked it right in the nose and it fortunately left the scene."

Learned said the extent of Gates' injuries weren't immediately evident.

"She was very pale, but it wasn't until Sydney had her lie down that she saw blood running down Amanda's neck. There were several large bites to the back of her head and other bites to her back, arm and legs. Sydney tended to her wounds, all the while reassuring her that she would be alright. An EMS soon arrived and provided extra help."

Anderson, who spent 29 years as an ER nurse at Harborview, described the incident as "just a terrifying event … she was so pale, and then after we laid her down on the road there was all that blood … I saw these great big bites on her head bleeding all over."

Anderson was particularly taken by Gates' apologetic attitude throughout the ordeal.

"I'm so sorry I'm causing all these problems for you," the young woman said as Anderson put pressure on her head wounds.

It wasn't until Monday that Anderson was able to speak with Gates. They had a good chat over the phone and made plans to meet. "It's a happy ending to that story," the nurse said.

Gates said she was happy to hear from Anderson so she could thank her personally. As for Alex's fate, she expressed remorse but resignation. "It sucks," she said. "Dogs aren't born bad naturally, but I do believe it (euthanasia) had to happen to protect others." She said she will always have scars on her head and arm, but overall she's much improved.

Officer Barnes said Friday that she had received the death certificate for Alex. However, charges against Poggi-Blethen are still pending, including citations for having an unlicensed dog, allowing it off premises and not being in control of the animal. Poggi-Blethen will have to appear in Island County District Court. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail or $1,000 fine, or both, Barnes said.

Poggi-Blethen did not return a message left by The Record.

The two growing pups, offspring of Axel named Sprocket and Tazzy, will remain with their owner. Barnes isn't optimistic about their future. "We have behavior concerns," she said.

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