The pit bull that attacked a Pomeranian last week aboard a Portland streetcar had past problems getting along with other dogs, according to records obtained Thursday by The Oregonian.
The pit bull’s fate remains up in the air as new details of the Sept. 24 confrontation emerge. It lunged at the tiny dog, latched onto the 13-year-old Pomeranian’s head and shook it as commuters watched in horror.
Multnomah County Animal Services has completed its report on the encounter and released it to the newspaper after a public records request.
The report lists the owner as Erica Montoya of Westminster, Colo., and says that she reported the pit bull known as Baby Girl or Purdy missing from her home this past June after adopting it from the Longmont Humane Society in August 2012.
Longmont officials told Montoya before adopting the dog that it “wasn’t always good with other dogs” but “got along great with kids and people and was even fine with cats,” the report says.
A person who adopted the dog before Montoya returned the dog to the Longmont shelter for an unknown reason after a month. Longmont Humane Society officials said when the dog was put in play groups with other dogs, “sometimes Baby Girl would be OK and other times, not so much,” the county report says.
It’s still not clear how the pit bull wound up in Portland, but it was in the possession of a 16-year-old homeless girl who brought the leashed dog onto the streetcar in Northwest Portland.
Montoya told Multnomah County officials that she never had any trouble with the dog after she brought it home from Longmont. The dog went missing after she left the dog with friends when she moved to a new home in Westminster in June.
Montoya told county officials that she wanted her dog back “but wasn’t sure she could afford to get the dog home,” the report says.
Montoya’s mother, Michelle Orozco, lives in Southeast Portland and said she learned only Thursday that her daughter’s missing dog is here. She hadn’t seen news reports of the fatal attack, she said.
It “may not be wise” for her daughter to care for the dog back in Colorado because of her limited income and limited space for the dog to happy and healthy.
In a text message Thursday afternoon, Orozco said her daughter is going to decide “within 24 hours on whether or not she can give Baby a loving and safe home. Otherwise we may to find a (pit bull) rescue (group) to come and get her.”
Orozco can’t take the dog herself because her own pit bull doesn’t do well with other dogs, she said.
“They are not automatically aggressive dogs,” Orozco said. “Something traumatic may have happened” to her daughter’s dog while it was missing.
The 36-page county Animal Services report contains additional details on the attack and subsequent investigation:
— The teenage girl was with a homeless man, 47-year-old Leroy Parsons, when they were contacted by a Portland police officer working a bicycle patrol before the streetcar attack. The girl and Parsons told the officer that the pit bull they called Purdy was theirs. The officer issued Parsons and the girl a Multnomah County dog license and ID tag.
— The Pomeranian was the one that bit the hand of Northwest Portland resident Joe Garside, who tried to break the pit bull’s grip on the streetcar.
— The county investigator concludes that the pit bull “should not be returned to” the 16-year-old girl or Leroy Parsons “under any circumstances.” The investigator also notes that she feels the county has no “legal reason to keep the dog here” in Multnomah County.
For now, the pit bull remains at the county animal shelter. Animal Services Director Mike Oswald has found that it falls in the category spelled out in the county ordinance as a “potentially dangerous dog” as one that “kills or causes the death of any domestic animal.”
Restrictions include requiring the dog to wear a muzzle and be kept in a secure enclosure.
“We are in conversation with the owner in Colorado,” Oswald said. “Our next step depends on what the owner decides.”
According to the Animal Services report, Sarah Clusman, director of operations for the Longmont Humane Society, told Oregon officials her agency could assist in getting the dog back to Colorado if need be.
Meanwhile, Portland police have completed their investigation and found, as the initial officer report noted, that the pit bull attack violated no state laws or city codes.
Both dogs were “contained at the time of the incident and under control of both owners,” the report says.
Police, transportation and animal control leaders are working together to develop a plan to prevent a similar attack aboard a streetcar.
They hope to release the results of the collaboration sometime next week.