Capitol & State

Dogfight: Ex-Sen. Jorgenson seeks assault charges after doggy dustup

Former Sen. Mike Jorgenson suffered lacerations after a long-simmering dispute between neighbors over their dogs escalated into violence, reports the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Jorgenson's foe was Hayden Lake City Councilman Ed Graves. Both men seek assault charges against the other after a Thursday night battle that featured Jorgenson throwing ice and Graves throwing punches after allegedly threatening to kill one of Graves' dogs.

A Kootenai County sheriff's report says "the dispute was physical mutual combat between both parties." The matter is under review by the prosecuting attorney.

Jorgenson complains that Graves' unleashed dogs frequently wander into Jorgenson's yard. Graves counters that Jorgenson's canines are "barking all night and day."

Their differences turned violent when Graves sought to video Jorgenson's barking dogs, aiming to turn the evidence over to animal control.

Graves says Jorgenson threw ice at Graves, striking him in the eye. Jorgenson said he uses ice to control the animals and said, "I doubt that piece of ice hit him."

Graves, 54, told the sheriff's office that Jorgenson, 65, grabbed his dog by the throat and threatened to kill the animal. Graves said he retaliated by repeatedly punching the former vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to the Press, the officer reported that Jorgenson suffered "multiple lacerations."

A former Hayden Lake city councilman, Jorgenson was elected to the Legislature in 2004 and served three terms. He was defeated by Sen. Mike Vick in the 2010 GOP primary and lost a rematch in 2012. Jorgenson graduated from Capital High School in Boise.

"I can't believe how childish a city councilman is, and it's all over him not following city ordinances," Jorgenson told reporter Keith Cousins.

Said Graves: "He didn't win, so he's going to do whatever he can do to win."

In February 2013, Jorgenson was charged with misdemeanor battery after allegedly grabbing an employee at his restaurant and throwing him to the ground in a financial dispute. Prosecutors dismissed the charges in April 2013.