Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman Mauled by Unleashed Dog 'Like a Piece of Meat,' Then Dog and Homeless Owner Go Into Hiding


Cheryl Wakerhauser is a pastry chef in Portland who is on a mission to get city officials to do something about the area’s homeless crisis following a terrifying attack that could have ended her life.

Wakerhauser runs six days a week, but she won’t be running again for a while after Monday’s events. She was passing a vacant, chainlink-fenced building on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at around 9:15 a.m. when she was knocked over by a loose brown pit bull.

The dog tore into both her legs, her right arm, and her back, leaving her with over 35 puncture wounds.

“All I saw was his face and his teeth,” Wakerhauser, 47, told The Oregonian.

In a bid to raise awareness of the issues, Wakerhauser posted photos of her battered arm on social media, but the images were removed for being too graphic.

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“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,” she wrote. “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 man with the dog at the time was identified by police as Theron D. Bates. He approached Wakerhauser only after a passing car stopped and started honking to draw attention to the attack.

Wakerhauser said he came up, leashed the dog, and said it wasn’t his dog before disappearing. Police spotted him three blocks away and managed to convince him to turn the dog over to them — but as soon as he had, Bates bolted.

When police caught up to him, he quickly downed something and they ended up treating him on the scene for what appeared to be a fentanyl overdose. He was then arrested for an unrelated warrant.

Meanwhile, the woman who’d honked got out of her car and stayed with Wakerhauser until paramedics arrived. The paramedics had to cut Wakerhauser’s clothes off to assess her before she was taken to the hospital and treated for potential infection.

Police took the dog — found to be named “Bubbie” — to Multnomah County Animal Services for a mandatory 10-day rabies quarantine. They determined that the dog’s owner was actually another homeless person, Jessie Miller, 37.

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Jessie Miller’s mother, Marie Miller, convinced animal services to let her hold the dog securely for the 10-day requirement, and they turned the pit bull over to her. But on Wednesday, Jessie took Bubbie while his mother was at work and the two have not been seen since.

“Doesn’t surprise me at all, unfortunately,” Wakerhauser said upon learning that the dog had gone missing.

Wakerhauser is asking anyone else who’s had bad experiences as a result of the city’s “homeless crisis” to please join her in fighting for change.

“I will never forget this day, especially when I will have to look at the 35+ scars that are soon to appear on my body,” she wrote on social media. “So, I am sending the City of Portland this postcard, as a souvenir (a ‘remembrance’ in French) that you have a job to do. Do not continue to Band-Aid our problems and then invite the world to visit. Fix them.”

“I’m not blaming people having a rough time out there, but there’s people not following the rules,” Wakerhauser elaborated in an interview. “The houseless and the housed, we are all living in this world together. We all need safety. We all need peace of mind.

“I’m not saying I have the answers. I’m a pastry chef. But this is serious. We can’t just keep sweeping this under the rug.”

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