Pit Bull Owners Charged
Pierce County, WA - Shellie Wilson, 45, and Zachary Martin, 18, were each charged with one count of "owning a dog that attacks" after the attack on Sue Gorman. It is a felony to own a dog that attacks someone when the owner "knew or should have known" that the dog was potentially dangerous. In charging documents, deputy prosecuting attorney Phil Sorensen said that Wilson and Martin should have known the pit bulls might hurt someone.
The prosecution stated:
- An investigation by a county animal control officer "netted several reports from neighbors" about Tank and Betty’s "threatening and menacing demeanor toward neighbors of all ages and both sexes."
- In one incident, Betty lunged at a boy who was inline skating. He had to kick her off "in order to escape" according to the charging documents.
- A second neighbor told an animal control officer "he had been forced to throw rocks at the dogs, apparently Betty and Tank, in order to get into his vehicle that was parked in his own driveway."
In response to the charges filed, Martin stated:
"I should be accountable for damages [the cost of Gorman's medical bills]. But I don’t believe I should be charged as a criminal." Martin believes what happened Aug. 21 is that Gorman got in the middle of a dog fight between the pit bulls and the Jack Russell, and that if she hadn’t, the dogs wouldn’t have turned on her. He said, "If they intended to kill her, she probably would have been killed." He added, "We are going to fight this hard."
Sue Gorman was asleep in her bed with her dogs when the two pit bulls burst into her bedroom and began attacking.
Sue Gorman hardly had a choice not to intervene in the chaos that was brought upon her. Furthermore, Mr. Martin makes it very clear that if his dogs had "wanted to kill her" they would have. Such words attempt to deny that Sue Gorman suffered serious injuries and that the injuries would have been worse if the dogs were truly in "attack mode." One can only describe Mr. Martin's words as criminal. We hope jury members of this trial feel the same way.
On August 21, 2007, two pit bulls entered a Gig Harbor home through a side sliding door and attacked and severely injured a woman while she slept. The 59-year-old victim, Sue Gorman, suffered deep lacerations to her face, forearms, back and breasts. Animal control officers believe the dogs may have gone into the house to attack one of Gorman's dogs. In addition to severely injuring Gorman, the pit bulls also killed one of her dogs.