Dog attacked by otters in Lakewood, homeowners say

Linda Willingham says her family was completely shocked yesterday when they witnessed otters attack their family dog at their American Lake lakeside home in Lakewood.

“She was actually drug under the water and there were like three-four and they were swarming all over her,” Willingham told KIRO 7.

The attack was caught on the family’s surveillance cameras which clearly show the 2-year-old Labrador retriever, "Gracie" struggling with something in the water before swimming to shore and dashing back to the family home.

“We want to make sure the otters are gone before we do that. Now of course nobody will swim here. Our family, anyway,” Willingham says.

"Gracie" has some bite wounds, but she’s recovering and her owners say she now refuses to go back into the water.



The family can’t recall otters being a problem in American Lake, but the boat marina down the street from the family has a story.

“We used to hatch trout in American Lake for 25 years, but we stopped the program last year because the otters would break into the zip-tie pouches we had for the fish,” says Dave Anderson, longtime owner of Bill’s Boathouse.

While the fish were a problem, the attack on pets is becoming a more common experience, Anderson says.

Anderson also told KIRO 7 they attempted to hire a trapper who could catch and/or kill the otters, but that didn’t last long before they discovered they were there to stay.

KIRO 7 also contacted the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife who says their marine biologist was not aware of any complaints.

But Anderson told KIRO 7 that game officials notified them if they were granted a hunting license, they could legally kill the otters and have their pelts stamped in Olympia.

Until some sort of solution is found, Linda Willingham says she has kept her family out of American Lake.

“As soon as we know it’s safe from these otters, then we’ll be back in the water,” Willingham says.