92-year-old woman dies after dog attack

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

A woman who was the victim of a violent attack by dogs has died, according to the Harborview Medical Center. 

Gladys Alexander, 92, walked across the street late Sunday to give her neighbor a newspaper when she was attacked by four pit bull mix dogs.

Thurston County Sheriff's investigators say the homeowner was running errands and returned home to find the dogs attacking Alexander. She stopped the attack.

Only a KIRO 7 camera was there as investigators for Thurston County Animal Services removed the dogs from the Scott Lake home near Olympia.

Their docile demeanor, a stark contrast to the way they behaved when a television crew showed up Monday.

Four pit bull mix dogs went after the elderly woman.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.

It was very likely the same way they seemed late Sunday afternoon when Gladys Alexander walked into the house while, unbeknownst to her, the homeowner was away.  Those who saw Alexander after the attack said the dogs tore away nearly all the flesh from a leg and an arm.

She died at 11:55 a.m. Tuesday at Harborview Medical Center.

As word spread, those living in her tight-knit neighborhood began bringing flowers to her home.  The authorities say that though Alexander was killed by the dogs, no crime was committed because they were confined to their home and she, in effect, trespassed.

It is a bitter pill, however, for those who knew her.

"I understand that," said Nancy Jenrette. "At the same time, it just feels so criminal that she had to have suffered so tragically and that she ended up having to die in this manner. It's just horrific."

The owner of the dogs has agreed to have one dog euthanized. The other three dogs belong to her daughter who is in jail.

They will all be quarantined for 10 days while a decision is made about their fate.

Law enforcement on dog attacks in Western Washington 

After a 63-year-old woman was attacked by pitbulls in SeaTac in summer 2009, King County Sheriff John Urquhart – then a sergeant and department spokesman -- said deputies see more animal-related calls in the summer.

“People will say there are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners," he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at the time. “We don't agree with that.”

Seattle Animal Shelter Don Jordan has said Seattle’s approach is to “focus on the deed, not the breed.” He has that take after that SeaTac attack and another in that city, and had the same response when there were calls to ban Rottweilers in Seattle in the 1990s.

In 2012, the last complete year for which KIRO 7 has complete data, there were 30 reports of pit bulls biting humans, more than any other dog breed. There were 18 reports for Labrador retrievers and nine reports for Rottweilers that year.

A list of Washington cities that bans or restricts dog breeds was compiled by DogsBite.org, a website that supports banning pit bulls.