Pit bull mauls woman in SE Portland; police searching for dog, owner

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 5:58 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A woman is still in shock after she was mauled by a dog on Monday in southeast Portland.

Cheryl Wakerhauser was out for her morning run on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard and Southeast 45th Avenue when a pit bull came out of nowhere, bit her leg and knocked her to the ground. She yelled for help and thankfully a driver pulled over and called 911.

“At first I was like wait, wait, what’s this is not happening. This is not happening and then he’s on my other leg and then he’s on my arm,” says Wakerhauser. “I want to thank her for stopping for seeing me after stopping, because if she has not stopped who knows what would’ve happened.”

She was left with 35 puncture wounds, including her legs, right arm and the side of her body.

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“If you take off my bandage, you can see my tendon, but he didn’t get it, but you can see it,” says Wakerhauser.

At the same time, Wakershauser says a man, who police say is Theron Bates, put the dog on a leash and ran off. Once Bates was caught, police say he swallowed suspected fentanyl, showed signs of drug overdose and was taken to the hospital. Police say they believe Bates is not the owner and was watching the dog for a friend.

Multnomah Animal Control says the dog owner is Jessie Miller who is experiencing homelessness. The dog was taken to Multnomah Animal Control and was later released to Millers’ mother to safely quarantine for 10 days. On Wednesday, animal service learned while she was at work, Miller went to her home, got the dog and now neither can be found.

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But the dog attack didn’t go un-noticed. According to Mult. Co. Animal Service policies, a dog who is at large can quarantine at home if it is done safely. On Thursday, animal services immediately changed the policy; now they must quarantine at a shelter if any of the following applies:

  • The pet was at large when the bite occurred; or The severity of
  • The bite was a 3.5 or above on the Ian Dunbar severity scale; or
  • The pet was previously designated as a Potentially Dangerous Dog prior to the incident.
  • A Rabies Vaccination is not current at the time of bite
  • The owner does not reside within Multnomah County

“If something came of that that makes Portland a better place to be, that’s great,” says Wakerhauser. “I was happy because I’m still here. This could’ve been a lot worse. It could’ve been so much worse.”

Mult. Co. Animal Service says if the dog is found, there are multiple things that can happen, from euthanization to wearing a muzzle, but that decision is a on a case-by-case basis.

This remains under investigation as officials look for Miller and his dog.