No charges for owner of dogs that killed woman in Spanaway attack

Staff writerJanuary 31, 2014 

Nga Woodhead’s killers are dead, and the man who unleashed them won’t face criminal charges.

The test was knowledge, according to Pierce County prosecutors. In the end, they couldn’t prove the owner of two pit bulls knew his dogs were dangerous before they escaped and attacked Woodhead on Oct. 30 in Spanaway.

The News Tribune is not naming the owner because he is not being charged.

Woodhead, 65, was walking along Pacific Avenue South when the dogs attacked. She tried to fight them off with an umbrella. A passerby rushed to help and shot one of the dogs. Sheriff’s deputies responding to the scene shot the other dog.

According to media reports at the time of the incident, the dogs’ owner said his dogs were “nice,” and added he did not know how they escaped their enclosure at his residence.

Either way, the damage was done. Woodhead suffered multiple contusions, lacerations and fractures from the dog bites. Taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, she was treated for those injuries, but suffered a heart attack a week later and died in front of her husband, Charles. The couple had been married for 41 years.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner concluded the dog attack caused Woodhead’s death. Prosecutors reviewed the case for the next three months, but could not build sufficient evidence to support a criminal charge against the owner of the dogs.

Proving the case would have required proving the owner’s prior knowledge of danger.

“The investigation did not yield evidence to support this claim,” according to a statement issued Friday by Prosecutor Mark Lindquist’s office. “Additionally, owning a specific breed of dog is not considered to be proof of prior knowledge. Therefore, there were no possible charges under current law.”

Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486

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