Pierce County dog bite victim wants to bite back in a lawsuit

Apr 3, 2024, 11:03 AM

Pierce County dog...

Police often use K-9s in pursuit of criminals. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A man said he was involved in an incident involving a Pierce County Sheriff’s Department K-9 that left him seriously injured and is filing a lawsuit.

Harold Ashworth said he found himself in harm’s way while changing the oil filter on his Subaru at a friend’s residence in South Hill. He said the K-9, Brix, lunged at him, inflicting serious injuries, according to a report in The Tacoma News Tribune.

Authorities had been chasing a reportedly stolen Kia, which they eventually found abandoned. In their pursuit, they called in the K-9 unit to track the suspect.

Tethered to a 30-foot leash, Brix zeroed in on Ashworth, who apparently matched the suspect’s description. The situation escalated despite Ashworth’s vehement denial of any involvement with the stolen vehicle.

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“I would just hope there’s a lot more caution and discretion before we send these (dogs) out where they’re biting people,” Brown told the News Tribune. “It seems really concerning to me that there wasn’t a little more control over this animal.”

Law enforcement reports indicate that deputies observed Ashworth’s combative behavior following the incident. According to police, he refused to provide his identity.

Deputy John Munson, Brix’s handler, expressed skepticism about Ashworth’s innocence, suspecting that he was more than just a bystander tuning up a vehicle.

“Ashworth did a good job of playing off that he was just laying under the car working on it and not involved, that’s why he was not arrested immediately that day,” Munson, wrote in the police report.

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Ashworth filed a lawsuit against Pierce County, alleging negligence, carelessness and unlawful conduct. The lawsuit, initiated on March 27, seeks unspecified damages to cover medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and legal fees.

Pierce County, the defendant in this case, has not commented on the ongoing case.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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