PRACTICAL PRECAUTIONS — A German Shepard is properly fenced in and neighbors are cautioned that the dog may be seen as aggressive with a “Beware of Dog” sign posted in clear view.

SUNNYSIDE — After the dispatching of an aggressive dog on Monday, March 2, there may remain some uncertainty of how we as a community can prevent the escape of pets from their enclosures and how to keep our pets from presenting dangerous behavior.

The pit bull displayed aggressive behavior towards a 78-year-old man and towards the officers on the scene who were attempting to quell the situation. Unfortunately, this resulted in officers removing the threat.

Commander Scott Bailey of the Sunnyside Police Department in an update on the incident said a citation was given for dog at large and could have been given for each of the three dogs loose in the area of Victory Way and Fairview Avenue.

There was a matter of whether the owner, Michael Palomarez, was going to be given a marauding dog charge. The difference being rather significant.

“A dog at large is a civil infraction, much like getting a traffic ticket. It’s $250 for each dog loose in the neighborhood, sniffing around and being a general nuisance,” Commander Bailey elaborates, “whereas a marauding dog is a gross misdemeanor, which is a criminal charge.”

A marauding dog is a dangerous dog on the loose, posing a threat to the community and potentially other dogs.

A marauding dog does not always lead to it being killed. Commander Bailey emphasized “a lot of factors go into [deciding to use deadly force]. When the bullet comes out of the gun, we’re responsible for where it goes.” Dire circumstances will result in the use of deadly force used towards aggressive animals.

In order to prevent events like this from happening, pet owners have the responsibility of ensuring their animal is secure in its enclosure. If one has a larger breed of dog that stays outside for the duration of the day, strong fences must be built to meet the expectations of a strong dog. Licensing and tagging pets are also crucial steps in ensuring the safety of pets and community.

“Socializing [dogs] so they don’t have the propensity to engage in combat and so they don’t cause problems later down the road,” Commander Bailey notes.

Pet owners can find prices for license at the website for the City of Sunnyside under the “Fees and Licensing” tab.

Elizabeth Sustaita can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email

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