A 6-year-old, 70-pound pit bull that attacked and killed a 10-year-old Shih Tzu in Wauconda will be euthanized, said Robin Van Sickle of the Lake County Health Department Animal Care and Control.
"We currently have the dog in our custody," Van Sickle said today, adding the Wauconda Police Department cited the owner of the aggressive dog with a dog-at-large ordinance violation.
"As far as further action against the dog owner, we are taking the lead in that role,” she said. We are working with the Wauconda Police Department so that due justice is sought for the families involved."
The attack occurred early in the morning July 23 in Wauconda Park District's Cook Park. The pit bull named Chuck is owned by John Bender of Wauconda. According to reports, the Shih Tzu named Shibui was being walked when it was attacked.
The dog walker, Judy Zeno, a good friend of the owner, Lisa Didier, said Bender had to pry the pit bull dog's mouth open to release the Shih Tzu. Zeno said she drove the dog to an animal hospital, but that it died in her lap, said Van Sickle.
Didier said Shibui served as a caretaker for a blind dog she owns. The blind dog cries at night, she said.
Bender relinquished custody of the dog to the county's animal care and control, said Van Sickle. The department has decided to humanely euthanize the dog following a 10-day rabies quarantine.
Charlene Norris, a Wauconda resident said via a voice message that she believes "more stringent rules need to be placed on pit bulls. The owner has been fined already," she said.
Van Sickle said the department conducted an investigation on the pit bull last November and determined the dog to be dangerous.
"The dog had bitten before - both other animals and other people - but had not caused serious injuries," she said.
As a result of the department's investigation, the dog was ordered to be put on the highest restrictions under state law, which included having to be muzzled at any time on public property and leashed and under control of the owner. The dog also had to be neutered and micro-chipped and the owner needed to pay a fine, Van Sickle said.
"The owner did not have the dog muzzled when he took the dog out last week, so it was the owner's negligence," she said, adding that both the owner of the pit bull and caretaker of the victim dog have given conflicting descriptions of the fatal attack.
"The owner [of the pit bull] told me that he was walking the dog on a leash. He bent down to tie his shoe and the dog took off - but the person walking the victim dog did not see a collar or leash.
"But the fact is this dog did run loose without being muzzled, without being under control of its owner and it killed another dog without being provoked."
Bender is scheduled to appear in Mundelein's branch court Aug. 23. He could not be reached for comment at press time.
Van Sickle said in Lake County the majority of municipalities will work with Lake County Animal Control to provide assistance or the lead in the investigation in animal-related cases. Muncipalities that have their own animal control departments include Waukegan, North Chicago and Zion.