Portland authorities can't even handle a vicious dog

I’ve written many times about homeless people and thieves who cycle through the justice system and the medical system until they do something really awful and finally wind up in jail for more than a few hours. But I’ve never seen the same pathetic cycle happen with a dog.


Two weeks ago a Portland business owner named Cheryl Wakerhauser was attacked by a pit bull while out jogging. She posted a story about the attack on her Instagram account.

Yesterday, I was out on a run and was viciously mauled by a dog in the care of a homeless man, who let it run off leash in a parking lot of one of Portland’s many vacant buildings. It ran out from the lot, grabbed my leg, threw me to the ground and then continued to violently attack both my legs and my arm, like a piece of meat. This went on until a bystander drove up, honked, and then a man with leash in hand lead the dog away and ran from police while I lie bleeding on the sidewalk. I spent 5 hours in the ER, have over 35 puncture wounds on my legs and arms and I can barely walk. It could have been a lot worse, and I am grateful that Monica stopped her car when she did and that the Portland paramedics arrived in minutes.

The homeless crisis in this city is OUT OF CONTROL. This is not just about eyesore camps and trash. More importantly it is about public safety, mental health, peace of mind and quality of life for all of us all, the housed and unhoused. Over and over again, the city government has promise change. There is always a (taxpayer funded) “plan” and “goal”. But when are we going to see any real change? Instead, things in this city continue to get worse daily. I’m sorry but clearing tents and replacing them with a “skatepark” does nothing to address this city’s homeless crisis.


The owner posted a photo of the injuries to her arm but Instagram removed it twice because it was so gruesome. Here’s a heavily blurred version at reduced size just to give you an idea how bad this attack was. We’re not talking about a few scratches. (If you want to see the full size photo in all its gory detail you can click here.)

Wakerhauser must have a dark sense of humor because she made the photo of her injured arm into the world’s most sarcastic postcard. Below her bloody arm she’s added the caption “Welcome to Portland!” She is clearly upset (who wouldn’t be) but I actually think she’s lucky it wasn’t a lot worse. The dog attacked both of her legs and her arm. If someone hadn’t interrupted it might have moved on to her neck eventually and that would have been the end.

In a normal place, police would seize the dog and it would be destroyed. But this is Portland so of course this is just the first part of a much longer saga of excuses and weird behavior. As Wakerhauser mentioned, while she was on the ground bleeding, someone walked up and began leading it away. His name was Theron Bates and when police arrived he almost killed himself.

According to Portland police, at around 9:27 a.m. on Monday, officers responded to Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard where they found 37-year-old Theron D. Bates walking a dog away from the scene.

Bates put the dog in the back of a police vehicle so they could interview him, authorities said, but then he attempted to run away.

Officers were able to cut Bates off and arrest him, but that’s when police said he took what they believed to be fentanyl and started showing signs of an overdose.

Officials administered Naloxone, and Bates was taken to a hospital. Following his release, Bates was booked on a warrant.


But Theron Bates didn’t own the dog (whose name is Bubbie). The dog belonged to another homeless man named Jessie Miller. After a dog attack the dog is supposed to remain in quarantine for 10 days to ensure it doesn’t have rabies. Animal Control allowed Jessie Miller’s mother to take the dog home with her where she promised it would remain in quarantine for 10 days.

But of course, that didn’t happen. The next day, Jessie Miller showed up and took the dog with him. When Animal Control came around a few days later to check on the dog, it was gone which also meant it was back out on the street without a leash.

It was around this time that Wakerhauser learned she wasn’t the dog’s first victim. It had previously attacked and nearly killed a small poodle belonging to another woman. These images aren’t as gruesome because the dog has already had its wounds stitched up.

So, plenty of evidence this dog is dangerous but it’s still out on the street without a leash. The owner of the little poodle wondered what happens if the next victim is a child?

Finally it seemed there might be a suitable resolution to this story. People on the lookout spotted the dog and called Animal Control and the police. Police showed up and…did nothing. How did you think this was going to end?

Authorities have located a pit bull believed to be responsible for separate attacks against a jogger in April and a dog in February, but officials say they have not been able to find a legal way to take custody of the dog.

Kara Bloom, the owner of the dog that was injured in the first suspected attack, said she’s beyond frustrated that authorities have not yet intervened.

“This is flabbergasting,” she said. “This is just truly remarkable that the city, the county, whoever, would just let this continue. That there’s no recourse for anybody.”


“There’s no recourse for anybody,” should be Portland’s official motto. Put it right on the city seal. Another local outlet explains why police couldn’t seize the dog.

When a PPB officer came, he approached Miller and asked him to hand over Bubbie. But Miller refused.

MCAS says that neither the PPB officer nor the MCAS after-hours service staff had legal jurisdiction to seize the dog because in Oregon dogs are considered property and Miller had no warrants.

Miller reportedly told the officer and animal control that he intended to drive to Vancouver, Wash. after leaving the area.

“We are pursuing every possible legal means to take possession of the dog. In the short term, we are issuing notices of infraction, classifying this dog as a dangerous dog, and meeting with the District Attorney’s Office to pull every lever to protect the public from this dog,” a spokesperson for animal control said.

I have lots of questions which aren’t answered by any of the stories I’ve seen. For starters if police knew they couldn’t seize the dog without a warrant against the owner, why didn’t they get a warrant against the owner? His dog severely mauled a woman. What is supposed to happen here and why didn’t it happen? It just feels like there’s more to the story that involves someone dropping the ball.

It’s a perfect microcosm of everything wrong with Portland. A person is violently attacked and the attacker (Bubbie) is identified and then released not once but twice. Everyone’s hands are tied from Animal Control right up to the DA. Everyone except Jessie Miller. He and his vicious dog are free to drive to another city where, inevitably, more animals or people will be hurt all because Rose City can’t manage to do much of anything.


What can you really say besides Welcome to Portland!

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