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UPDATE: Kirkland Man Shoots Pit Bull at Juanita Beach Park

Man with concealed weapons permit wounds the pit bull after it and two others attacked the man and his dog, according to Kirkland police.

A Kirkland man shot and wounded a pit bull at Saturday afternoon after the pit bull first attacked the man’s dog and then turned on him, according to Kirkland Police.

The shooting occurred about 4 p.m. when three pit bulls, all off-leash, came into the area and one approached the man and attacked his German shepherd, which was also off-leash.

The man, identified as Tim Lewis by KOMO News, had been throwing a spinning disc to his German shepherd when the attack occurred. "All hell broke loose," Lewis told KOMO.

When Lewis attempted to pull the pit bull off of his dog, the two other pit bulls joined the attack and could not be removed, even when the owner of the pit bulls, a Seattle man, tried to remove them as well.

The three pit bulls continued to attack the shepherd and when one was pulled off, it turned to attack Lewis, the Kirkland man.

Lewis, who has a registered permit to carry a concealed weapon, then pulled out a pistol and shot the dog once, said Kirkland Police Sgt. Rob Saloum.

The owner of the pit bulls took the three dogs and went to a local veterinarian hospital. The wounded pit bull underwent surgery and is expected to survive.

King County Animal Control was notified and would be the agency issuing any citations regarding the dogs. Kirkland park rules require that all dogs be on leash at all times.

Kirkland Police are investigating the shooting and said witness statements back up the Kirkland man’s account.

"There were witnesses there," said Saloum "The initial witness statements corroborate (Lewis') statement."

Lewis later told KOMO that, "If I didn't have my gun, I'd be dead right now. It was an instant decision. It's not something I wanted to do. I love animals."

The German shepherd apparently sustained minor injuries in the attack.

Saloum said Lewis' semiautomatic pistol was confiscated. "It was taken as part of the investigation," Saloum said.

Cliff DesPeaux May 22, 2011 at 05:06 AM
I was driving by about a half hour afterward, and was wondering why there were a couple patrol cars in the parking lot. I sometimes take my dog there, and can't believe that someone would let 3 pit bulls go off leash.
Greg Johnston (Editor) May 22, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Interesting Cliff, I drove by about an hour later and the patrol cars were gone, no sign of anything out of the ordinary. It's worth noting that park rules require all dogs to be on leash all the time.
Virginia Ashlin May 22, 2011 at 04:08 PM
I can't count how many times I see people flaunting the leash law. There is a reason for it. And, there are designated off-leash parks in the area, so really no good excuse.
Greg Johnston (Editor) May 22, 2011 at 04:21 PM
Virginia, in years of covering park-related issues, I've found that leash law violations are always the single most violated park rule everywhere: in national parks, state parks, county parks and municipal parks. Interestingly, there is an effort underway to create an off-leash park in Kirkland, in the Totem Lake area. The group KDOG is spearheading that effort: http://patch.com/A-dkjL.
Paul May 23, 2011 at 02:42 PM
As someone who carries a concealed weapon, I would say that the shooter was not in the right to use his gun on the animal. If the dog had not touched him, there was no reason to shoot. I think he should be charged with cruelty to animals as well as wreckless discharge of a firearm. The police were right in confiscating this mans pistol, he isn't competent enough to carry one.
Greg Johnston (Editor) May 23, 2011 at 03:45 PM
Paul, we appreciate you sharing your perspective, but please let's be courteous and refrain from personal attacks.
Rebecca May 23, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Paul, I disagree in the face of a group attack by any midsized dog breed or larger, especially when that group is already in attack mode (regardless of breed) lethal force can be used. Would you have prefered the gun owmer to have been mauled before defending himself? Firing from an upright position at a downward angle in my opinion would have been much safer than for the dog to have already been on him, possible knocking him to the ground where his shot would have had a greater chance of hitting someone else.
Lynne May 23, 2011 at 05:19 PM
I think the owner did the right thing. Going against three dogs that the owner can't even control is a serious situation. What, wait until his dog gets killed or he gets maimed before he defends himself? Not to get too political, but isn't that the rule for sidewalks or the flags and flashing lights we now see all over King County? Wait until (insert # here) people are killed before putting in said flashing lights and flags? I think being proactive about you and your dog's safety is commendable. A pitbull, while large, isn't large enough to miss a kill shot to an experienced gun handler. It is obvious this dog owner was concerned for the dog's welfare but could find no other way to remove these dogs. And a semiautomatic? He shot once, the dogs scattered is my assumption. He could have done A LOT more damage and I have been in and around many, many dog parks (lived above Belltown dog park for two years) and dog fights and it is an adrenalized event. In that adrenalized state and worrying about his and his dog's safety, he could have done WAY more damage, but he was responsible, unlike Paul's opinion above. I personally only take my dog offleash where there isn't much chance of seeing another dog (hiking,etc) or I carry a spray gun filled with vinegar, works every time. Make sure you just get by their nose with it, like right on their chest where it wafts up to their nose. While I can trust my dog, I can't trust other people's, as shown by this event.
Karen Tennyson May 23, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Paul - you might try rereading the article. It clearly states that Mr. Lewis was attacked when one of the pit bulls was pulled off of his dog. That is when he shot. Sorry, but I feel he had every right to shoot the dog and I admire his control to not shoot several time, but only once. Why aren't we talking about the owner of the 3 pit bulls, who released his dogs without regard to their safety or the safety of any other animal or person in the park? Obviously, his dogs were not under voice control, which would negate their being off leash in any circumstance.
Kris Rooke May 26, 2011 at 08:59 PM
Arghhhh, this is so unfortunate! I overheard this story at the Juanita Starbucks this morning. As I drove by the park I saw 4 different people with dogs, all off leash! I'm a very proud Kirkland resident that owns a very stubborm Coonhound. There is NO WAY he would ever be off leash in any park that is not confined with rules and borders. I'm an ashamed at dog owners who think it is ok for them to do what they want, with no regard to the rules. Both of these people should be cited and fined for breaking the rules! We should already have our dog park in Totem Lake, but until then, dog owners should be cited for letting their dog off leash in any Kirkland park! Now, had this happened at the Marymoor Off Leash Dog Park, it still would be horrible. But after my dog WAS mauled by another dog at Marymoor and I paid $500 out of pocket for vet bills because the other dog owner was no where to be found, I do not harbor resentment of any kind and we frequently visit Marymoor weekly still. A pack of OFF leash Pit Bulls and a man with a gun in an open public park??? SHAMEFUL SITUATION!
terry smith June 04, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Greg you are truly misinformed on the Leash Law. Kirkland City Code, Title 8.04 Section8.04.030, state that all dogs must be on leash, and describes what a leash is. But is also states that if the owner and the dog have been through "organized training", then the dog can be on leash through verbal or electronic leash command. King County backs up this law.
Greg Johnston (Editor) June 04, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Terry, I don't know know how anything here could be construed as being "truly misinformed" when your own explanation says the dog must be "on leash," whether physically or through verbal or electronic leash command. The point is, all dogs must be "on leash," including voice control - and in this case allegedly at least three dogs were not. That's why we included that generalization of the law.
terry smith June 04, 2011 at 04:37 AM
Paul seems to think that he has all of the answers, and no who this man is. Well Paul you are wrong. Being a CWP holder does not make you God. Show me a man who was threaten the way Lewis was, with not one, but three pitbulls, plus his 80 year old father-in law, stand there scared and frozen, plus his poor dog, to the man they would have shot in self defense, as Lewis did. Never judge a man if you were not there. Women are raped and assaulted all of the time, do you think they should have called 911 too? You have the nerve to call a man you don't even know incompetent? Why do you have a weapon?
J. Dellow June 29, 2011 at 06:29 AM
I take my dog to this park fairly often and I have never seen an "on leash" sign anywhere. Scoop signs, yes, leash signs, no.
J. Dellow June 29, 2011 at 06:31 AM
Unfortunately, the designated "off leash" areas seem to attract dog owners who interpret this to mean "out of control". I never take my highly trained dog to off leash parks.
J. Dellow June 29, 2011 at 06:37 AM
Paul, if you read the RCW there is no law requiring a licence for a pistol. You are required to obtain a license with the State for a "concealed weapon" only. Other than in a bar, you can wear a pistol on your side, openly, without a permit. Having said that, if Mr. Lewis had not had a pistol on his person and had not been able to protect his 80 year old father-in-law (or himself) from an attack from *three* pitbulls (not just one attack dog, but three), what are you saying? Let's wait and see which artery is ripped out before there is a "justified" defense? Seriously? If that was your dog, or your child, or your parent - you would "wait and see"? Really?

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