Woman mauled by dogs at documented 'nuisance property' sues King County, dogs' owners
AUBURN, Wash. - A woman who was attacked by multiple dogs in Auburn last year is suing King County for what her lawyers say is a failure to protect the community from a known ‘run-down and dangerous residential property.’
On Feb. 22, 2022, a 38-year-old woman was jogging in her neighborhood when she was suddenly attacked by three dogs that escaped from their property on 45th Place South. Ring camera footage shows the attack and the woman being tossed around by the dogs like a rag doll.
Neighbors stepped in when they heard her screams and one of the dogs turned on them. A responding officer had to shoot and kill one of the dogs to get to the victim.
The victim was hospitalized in critical condition. She suffered broken and fractured bones, nerve damage in her arms and hands, puncture wounds and skin lacerations on her face and head. The suit says she has had to undergo several surgeries and will need several more to help restore function to damaged limbs and nerves.
The home and the dogs have been the center of complaints from neighbors for years, according to the suit filed.
"While the event itself was sudden and violent, the event was a culmination of years of ignored problems surrounding a trashed and hazardous residential property in this neighborhood. For years, the residents of Lakeland North repeatedly implored King County to act to remove this nuisance and hazard from their neighborhood. Despite having knowledge of the hazards this property and its human and animal occupants repeatedly posed to the community, King County did too little, too late. It made promises it did not keep."
The suit filed against King County says that the county knew the house was a ‘nuisance house,' but did nothing to address or resolve the ongoing issues.
Since at least 2020, neighbors have been complaining to county officials and law enforcement about trash and clutter, criminal activity, squatters, civil disturbances and dog aggression at the home.
The complaint says that the King County Department of Local Services, Permitting Division issued a notice for the homeowner to fix the multiple code violations on the property or vacate the residence. The notice was given on May 20, 2021 and they had until June 1 of that year to either fix it or vacate, but nothing changed, according to the suit.
On Nov. 3 of that year, King County posted a "Do Not Occupy" notice on the property, yet people continued to live there, the suit claimed.
Deputies responded several times for various incidents and the dogs were seized multiple times for aggression but were eventually returned to the home, according to the suit.
"Despite repeated requests by residents for help dealing with the crime, vicious dog attacks, and condition of the property, King County failed to take appropriate and required action to address these ongoing issues. Neighbors continued to live in fear in their own neighborhood, until one of the worst imaginable outcomes occurred: Someone was nearly killed," lawyers for the victim said in a press release.
The woman and her husband are seeking an unknown amount in damages for physical and mental injuries, lost income and legal fees.
In addition to the county, the suit names the property owners and two people who were staying there, saying they were negligent in the "care, supervision and management of their vicious dogs."
The King County Sheriff’s Office told FOX 13 that they are not commenting on matters involving pending litigation.