Friday, June 25, 2010

Elgin mayor fights off pit bull attack

By Lenore T. Adkins, Daily Herald

Elgin Mayor Ed Schock fought off a pair of pit bulls he said tried to attack him and his German shepherd Thursday night.
"I kicked one and hit the other with the leash," said Schock, a 63-year-old retired teacher. "I was concerned about, one, my dog being bitten and, two, myself being bitten."
Neither Schock nor his dog was injured or sought medical attention.
The incident marks the second time in as many months that a pair of pit bulls have attacked an Elgin resident.
Police shot two pit bulls over the Memorial Day weekend that scratched and bit a 9-year-old boy in Festival Park, then charged at officers.
That happened just a couple days shy of a new set of regulations going into effect that classify any dog that attacks another dog or person as "dangerous," and triggering added regulations for the owner of such an animal.
Thursday night's episode wasn't nearly as dramatic.
Schock said he and his 2-year-old dog, Rako, had been taking their nightly walk around his neighborhood on the city's northeast side.
Fifteen minutes into the walk at 9:29 p.m., they were passing by a house in the 200 block of Plum Street, roughly five blocks away from Schock's home.
Suddenly, a pair of untethered pit bulls leapt from the porch, away from the person who was with them and at Schock and Rako, Schock said.
Shock and Rako retreated behind a tree while the dogs barked at each other.
One of the pit bulls tried circling around the pair, then lunged at the mayor and his dog, Schock said.
That's when Schock kicked it, he said, adding that neither he nor Rako was bitten.
When that dog ran away, the mayor whacked the other one with his dog's leather leash.
That dog ran away as well and the owner came down and collected the dogs, Schock said.
The entire encounter lasted about 15 seconds, Schock said.
"My whole point wasn't to hurt or not hurt, it was that people should be able to walk by the front sidewalk without having dogs chase them," Schock said. "Or scaring people."
Schock has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years and said he's never seen the two dogs before, as their owners just moved in a few weeks go.
He also said he never would not have called police, but the owner yelled at him for kicking and hitting her dogs. He told her to keep them on a leash.
According to a police report, the owner says one of the dogs named Chico ran off the porch and barked at Schock and Rako from a distance of five feet distance, but never jumped at the pair.
She said the other dog never went beyond the porch's front steps.
The owner, not named in reports, was written up for five citations: one a dangerous dog ticket, one for biting/attacking, two for having no collars or tags on the dogs and one more for keeping them loose.
She is due in court July 27 at the Elgin Branch Court.
Under the new city law that went into effect June 1, the biting/attacking comes with a $1,000 fine, while the others range between $50 and $750 in fines, city spokeswoman Sue Olafson said.
Earlier this year, Councilman John Prigge championed a proposed law that would have automatically classified all pit bulls as dangerous dogs. But the council backed off after pit bull owners pleaded with the city to "punish the deed, not the breed."
For his part, Schock Friday said he has no intention of revising the law to specifically target them.
"I think we have to let the ordinance work," he said. "It could have been any breed of dog."

Update June 25, 2010 6:55pm - The following article is by Steven Ross Johnson, The Courier News:

Elgin mayor uninjured in run in with pit bulls

A walk with his dog Thursday night provided some intense moments for Mayor Ed Schock, when he was forced to fend off two pit bulls whom he said tried to attack.
"I was out about 9:30 at night walking my dog and I went by a house — it was very dark," Schock recalled. "These two dogs bolted off of the front porch and they came after my dog and I — I kind of slid behind a tree and kicked one of the dogs and hit the other one with the leash."
Schock said neither he, nor his 2-year-old German Shepherd named Rako, were injured. He said he decided to call police only after the owner of the pit bulls began to argue with him about hitting her dogs.
"I was just lucky they were deterred by being hit by a leash and being kicked," he said. "Or rather than it would have taken something more, because I didn't have anything more."
According to the police report, neither pit bull was on a leash at the time of the attack.
The owner was given five citations, including two for having no collar or tags, one for loose dog, one for attacking and one for having a dangerous dog, with fines ranging from $50 to $1,000 under a new, tougher animal control ordinance passed unanimously by the Elgin City Council in March.
The regulations were put in place after an tighter rules ordinance that were breed-specific to pit bulls was modified to include all dogs that a hearing officer or court deems to be dangerous or vicious.
Schock felt the incident highlighted the importance of having the new rules in place, as well as the need for more animal control officers within the Elgin Police Department, where there is currently only one.
"I think we could use at least two more," he said. "We should probably have one on an early evening shift as well as the day shift."
He said hiring another animal control officer was not within current city budget plans. He said he might once again propose a plan that would require dog owners to pay a registration fee as a way of raising the necessary funds.
"I've had some people with dogs say they support the idea — that they think we need to have people register their dogs and help pay for the animal control officer," he said. "We dog owners are the ones who potentially create the problem."

Update July 5, 2010 9:21am - The following article is from The Courier-News:

Elgin mayor taught these pits, but not owner, some manners

Californians, you can keep your Terminator because we have the Schockinator.
That's right. You may have Ah-nuld the governor, but we have Ed the mayor. Elgin's motto really ought to be "Our mayor kicks ass!" However, I have to say my previous motto suggestion, "You might want to watch out for the pit bulls," is looking better and better.
You see, the mayor was walking Rako, his 2-year-old German shepherd, by a house in the 200 block of Plum Street at 9:30 p.m. June 24 when two pit bulls took exception. Little did they know they messed with the wrong man.
One of the pits began circling the pair, and when it lunged, Schock kicked it, sending the bewildered beast scurrying for cover. Before the second pit bull realized the error of his ways, Ed whacked it with a spare leash, dispatching it, too. Neither the mayor nor Rako sustained any injuries.
In a previous column, I described routing a Doberman, a Rottweiler and a German shepherd, but in my three pit bull confrontations, the best I could do was stand my ground. Schock credits Rako's even temperament for keeping the situation within the bounds of reason. But if it's all the same to you, I'll never write anything negative about Elgin again because I'm terrified of getting on the mayor's bad side.
And speaking of even dispositions, with the pit bulls on the run, Schock was willing to let the whole thing go, but that all changed when a teenage girl descended from the porch to retrieve the fleeing dogs. Schock explained, "I realized she was just a kid and these things happen, but when I tried to give her a bit of lecture on responsible pet ownership, she dropped the F-bomb on me for kicking her dog."
So Schock told her, "If you're going to be a smart-ass about it, I'm going to call the cops." Having learned nothing from the fate of her dogs, the insolent brat retorted, "Call the police. I don't care," so Schock dialed 911. This exchange is yet further proof of my long-held theorem that teenagers should be rarely seen and never heard.
As it turns out, our impertinent pet owner made an exceptionally bad choice, because she ended up with five citations -- two for no dog collars or rabies tags, one for loose dogs, one for the attack and yet another for having dangerous dogs. Those fines could hit $4,000 under the stricter Elgin dog ordinance passed last March. I don't think she's going to be getting her allowance any time soon.
Of course, the teenager disputes the mayor's version of events, claiming her perfect pit bulls were the modicum of politeness and personality. That still doesn't explain the lack of collars, leashes or rabies tags.
Despite my newfound fear of getting whacked with a leash, I dared to ask the mayor if this wasn't a message from God. After all, having now faced down two of these heinous creatures, shouldn't Elgin reconsider its failed pit bull ban?
"I think the current ordinance is a better answer," Schock responded. "We have to let that ordinance work. If you're an irresponsible dog owner, it's going to cost you a lot of money. Those dog owners might want to reconsider dog ownership. Word is going to get around on this one." (Schock's always been a master of understatement.)
Considering Elgin police had to shoot two charging pit bulls over the Memorial Day weekend, and on June 29 a pit bull mix plowed through a locked screen door to bite an Elgin postal worker, it's a good thing Schock's the mayor and I'm not. I wouldn't be nearly so magnanimous.
Because we agree the real problem is almost always the pet owner, this re-emphasizes a query I've posed before. "What kind of person would want to own a pit bull?" I'll tell you. In general, it's someone with low self-esteem who sees a powerful, domination-determined animal as an extension of themselves. It's someone who, after their pit bull attacks you, has the nerve to hit you with the F-bomb for kicking their dog. Although I love Schock's ordinance optimism, even the threat of a multi-thousand-dollar fine will not deter that kind of thinking.
But, to quote a famous movie, "Dangerous dog ordinance? We don't need no stinking dangerous dog ordinance!" If you're nervous about walking little Fifi down Elgin's streets, simply call upon the Schockinator. Legend has it he can send a pack of pit bulls into full flight with a mere glance. I'm thinkin' Harrison Ford plays the mayor.

Update July 27, 2010 10:20pm - The following article is by Harry Hitzeman, Daily Herald:

Dog owner disputes Elgin mayor's account of pit bull attack
An Elgin woman whose pit bulls are accused of attacking Mayor Ed Schock last month said Tuesday her one of her dogs never left her front porch and the other merely was trying to sniff the mayor's German shepherd.
"He just ran up to him and smelled him," Silvia Lugo said during an administrative hearing at city hall that will determine whether one of her dogs should be declared "dangerous."
Mark Schuster, the administrative hearing officer, continued the hearing to Aug. 24 so Lugo could call witnesses in her defense.
Lugo received several citations for the June 24 incident, which occurred in front of her home on the 200 block of Plum Street, on the city's east side.
Four tickets were for not having her dogs on a leash and not having a collars with rabies tags. Lugo said she recently moved to Elgin from North Carolina and couldn't find the proper tag for her male pit bull, Chico. She did produce tags for her female pit bull, Chata, which she maintains says never left her porch.
Lugo acknowledged she was at fault for those offenses, but plans to fight the city's contention that her dog exhibited biting or attacking behavior and therefore must be declared dangerous.
If she loses on the dangerous animal charge, she will be fined $1,000 under a new city law and have to obtain $100,000 in liability insurance.
Also, under a new set of rules that took effect June 1, Lugo would have to register Chico at city hall, muzzle him when outside, and have the dog neutered and microchipped.
Schock, who was not at the hearing, said in a phone interview Tuesday that both of Lugo's dogs bounded aggressively off the front porch, forcing him and his dog, Rako, to retreat near a tree in the public parkway.
The mayor said he kicked one of the dogs away and hit the other with a leash. Neither Schock nor his dog were injured.
Schock said the owner shouted for the pit bulls to stop but neither did.
"They just tore off the porch and raced toward us. Both dogs came off the porch very aggressively," he said. "This wasn't two dogs meeting on the sidewalk on leashes. Were they going to bite us? I don't know. I wasn't going to wait and see."
One witness Lugo plans to call Aug. 24 is her sister-in-law, Desiree Ramirez, who also lives in the home on Plum Street.
Ramirez said the two dogs barked at Schock and his dog, but did not attack.
"Our dogs are loving dogs," she said. "These dogs have never attacked anybody."
Added Lugo: "I still have the dogs. They're my babies."

Update August 24, 2010 3:30pm - The following article is by Melissa Jenko, Chicago Breaking News Center:
Dogs accused of running at Elgin mayor deemed 'dangerous'

Two dogs accused of running at Elgin Mayor Ed Schock were deemed "dangerous" today, a designation that triggers a number of restrictions under a new city ordinance.
Silvia Lugo of the 200 block of Plum Street was fined a total of $2,200 at a hearing for several offenses related to the pit bulls.
Under the new law, the dogs now must be licensed with the city, neutered or spayed, micro-chipped and have rabies shots, plus they have to be kept behind a locked 6-foot high fence and muzzled if they are on public property. Lugo must have $100,000 in liability insurance.
The punishment stems from a June 24 incident in which Schock was walking his German shepherd near Lugo's home just before 9:30 p.m.
When two pit bulls sitting on a porch began barking and running toward him, he said he and his dog tried to take cover behind a tree in the parkway.  He kicked one of the pit bulls and struck the other with a leash when they got near him.
"Nobody got hurt but your heart jumps out of chest a little bit when they're coming at you," Schock said in an interview prior to the hearing.
He called police, he said, after Lugo was verbally abusive toward him.
Lugo argues the male pit bull ran toward the mayor and his dog but never jumped at them and that the female pit bull walked off the porch but stopped at the bottom of the stairs. A person who lives in the house gave the same description of the incident, although Schock said he did not see her at the scene.
"My dogs are not violent," Lugo told Mark Schuster, the hearing officer.
But Schuster said that while she may not think her dogs are a threat, he understands why the mayor would have thought so when they were running at him. He deemed both dogs "dangerous," which meant a $1,000 fine for each. 
Lugo also received two $50 fines for the dogs not wearing tags or collars and $100 for a dog being loose.
The city dismissed a citation for a dog biting/attacking. Neither Schock nor his dog was bitten.
The citations are part of an ordinance that went into effect June 1 and lays out guidelines for deeming a dog dangerous or vicious.
The ordinance was unanimously approved in March.
A dangerous dog, under the ordinance, chases or injures a person or animal without provocation or acts in a way that suggests a person or animal is in imminent danger, according to police spokesperson Sue Olafson. A vicious dog is one that causes severe physical injury or death to a person or animal.
Dogs falling under either classification must be registered with the city for a three-year $100 license, be neutered or spayed, have rabies shots and be micro-chipped, Olafson said. But other restrictions are more serious for the owners of vicious dogs. They must have $500,000 in liability insurance and their dogs are not allowed on public property.
"You can't just have them running loose chasing people," Schock said. "Whether they bite or not, people have the right to walk down the sidewalk without being harassed by these dogs."


  1. hopefully he will rethink the previous consideration for bsl

  2. As the mayor stated, correctly, it could have been any type of dog.
    How would this incident have been any different had it been two Huskies, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, or?
    The bottom line here is that the owner did not correctly handle the dogs OR the situation (which, in itself, is not breed-specific), and will now pay a heavy price for it. Though, in my opinion, not heavy enough.
    BSL, again in my opinion, does not work and unfairly punishes me and my dogs, as well as many others, who have done nothing to warrant being punished.
    OSL (Owner-Specific Legislation) would be more appropriate because SOME people shouldn't own specific breeds or types of dogs, and others shouldn't own ANY.

  3. As the mayor stated, correctly, it could have been any type of dog.
    How would this incident have been any different had it been two Huskies, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, or?
    The bottom line here is that the owner did not correctly handle the dogs OR the situation (which, in itself, is not breed-specific), and will now pay a heavy price for it. Though, in my opinion, not heavy enough.
    BSL, again in my opinion, does not work and unfairly punishes me and my dogs, as well as many others, who have done nothing to warrant being punished.
    OSL (Owner-Specific Legislation) would be more appropriate because SOME people shouldn't own specific breeds or types of dogs, and others shouldn't own ANY.


I welcome your comments and questions.
Be advised that comments are moderated. Not for views, but for content.
Profanity, personal attacks, and spam within comments will result in your comment being rejected.
I, personally, love Pit Bulls as well as all dogs and most animals.
If your comment differs from my feelings or opinions, I will post it anyway, providing it does not include any of the three exceptions listed above.
Same goes for comments that are in harmony with my opinions.
Thank you for participating.