Father Charged with Two Felonies
Spokane, WA - Spokane (population 200,000) is located in eastern Washington. A quick overview of the city shows that renters make up 38% of the housing market; violent crime rate is double the U.S. average (6 vs. 3) and the property crime rate is more than double (7 vs. 3). One commenter on Bestplaces.net calls the town "Spookyville," another claims the town has a great climate.
Spokane's pit bull problem continues to crop up in the news.
The most recent case involves a father that hanged a person's pit bull after the dog bit his 8-year old son in the face. The father, James R. Phelps, was arrested for Residential Burglary and First Degree Animal Cruelty for his act. The owner of the pit bull -- who was not named -- is a 25-year old transient who had been staying at the Phelp's home with his two dogs.
After the pit bull attacked the young boy, Phelps rushed his son to the hospital and the transient pit bull owner moved to a new person's house. He initially told Phelps that he would "put the dog down." However, he changed his mind. Shortly thereafter, he returned to his new residence and found his pit bull hanging from the ceiling. He recognized the rope as belonging to Phelps.
An investigation revealed that after Phelps learned that the pit bull owner was not going to put his dog down, Phelps broke into the apartment and hanged the animal. Police seized the rope as evidence and notified Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) of the boy's injury and the death of the dog. Phelps was booked into the county jail on two felony charges.
- Back in June, the mother of a toddler that was attacked by the family pit bull-mix did not take the child in for medical treatment because she feared she would get in trouble. It was reported that the child suffered about 100 puncture wounds. A neighbor called the police, who then instructed the mother to take the 1-year old boy to the hospital. Child Protection Services was also notified.
- In late May, the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS) tried to adopt out the ex-fighting dogs known as the "Great Eight" after having the dogs returned to them by a refuge in Texas. With the help of BestFriends, SCRAPS succeeded. Shortly after the "Great Eight" article was published, several people broke into SCRAPS and stole some pit bulls. The thieves were caught.
- In April, two pit bull attacks occurred a week apart. The first involved a woman whose fiancée owned the pit bull. The woman, identified as Elizabeth, suffered severe injures to her shoulder and arms -- at least one arm was broken. The second involved a loose pit bull that took a bite out of a woman's calf. It's unknown if the owner in the last attack was ever found.
05/30/08: Pit Bulls in Spokane, Washington Can't Stay Out of the News
04/17/08: Pit Bull Attack Puts Owner in the Hospital