Owners of slain dog file lawsuit against neighbor

A Clinton couple recently filed a lawsuit against neighbors whose pit bull killed their small dog this past June.

Diane and Jeffrey Chin filed the complaint against Gina Cooley and Joseph Sidlauskas for damages in Island County Superior Court in December. The lawsuit asks for unspecified economic and noneconomic damages.

The incident led to a criminal case against Cooley and an impromptu community meeting of concerned neighbors.

Cooley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in Island County District Court of “control off premises.” She was sentenced to seven days in jail, a $250 fine and restitution to be determined at a later date.

The mauling happened June 13 at Chin’s home near Deer Lake. She had just exited her house with her two Bichons, Bruiser and Tug, when Cooley’s dog, a pit bull named Bubby, appeared.

The dog “ripped” Tug from the woman’s grasp, “brutally killing him without provocation, without supervision, without restraint,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that Tug had “immense intrinsic value” to the Chins and they suffered “severe emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life” due to the incident.

Island County Animal Control Officer Carol Barnes investigated and designated Bubby as a “dangerous dog.” The owner later euthanized the animal.

The Chins are represented by Adam Karp, a Bellingham attorney who specializes in animal law.