Dec 30, 1987 Owner Of Pit Bull Facing Murder Charge

Chicago - A $200,000 bond was set Tuesday for a pit bull owner who was charged with murder after he and his dog allegedly attacked a man in a quarrel over a woman.

Charles Gramer, 27, of 3035 W. Wilson Ave., was charged with murdering Harold Bechtel, using a knife and his black pit bull as weapons.

By Linnet Myers
Read more:
Chicago Tribune  Accessed: 2012-01-30. (Archived by WebCite® at

Nov 10, 1987 Justice Pit Bull Attack Linked To Boy`s `Feud` With Family

Justice — A 16-year-old Justice boy who allegedly ordered two pit bull terriers to attack a 10-year-old neighbor girl had been ``feuding`` with the girl`s parents for several years and had been reported to police for harassing the family, police in the southwest suburb said Monday.

The family and the boy ``have had persistent problems,`` Justice Police Cpl. Steven Kooper said. ``They were feuding. They had been fighting for some time.``

The family and the boy`s family live across 79th Avenue from each other, and the Sunday afternoon dog attack occurred about 50 yards from their two homes, police said.

Kooper testified at a hearing Monday in Cook County Juvenile Court that the boy had denied ordering the dogs to attack, saying the dogs got loose accidentally while he was walking them. The dogs belonged to friends of the boy`s family, police said.

The girl, Brandy Hopper, underwent 2 1/2 hours of surgery Sunday night at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn to repair damage from the mauling. She was listed in good condition Monday, hospital officials said.

The dogs chewed out a 3-by-6-inch section of the girl`s left thigh, the girl`s parents and police said, and left deep bite marks in her right thigh.

A plastic surgeon sewed some of the torn flesh on the girl`s left thigh back into place, the girl`s mother, Sandra Merkle, said. But Merkle said her daughter may need skin grafts.

``It was such a big rip. It`s like the shape of that dog`s jaw,`` she said.

Justice police said Monday that they have responded to frequent complaints that the boy had harassed the family and threatened Brandy`s siblings.

Merkle said the boy`s actions were unprovoked. ``He`s just a neighborhood punk,`` she said. ``He does it all over town. His parents know we`ve been fighting.``

At the Monday court appearance, testimony showed that the boy has an extensive criminal record for theft, burglary and criminal damage to property dating back to age 11.

Also in court, Kooper said Justice police have documented problems between the boy and the family for at least five years.

The boy was charged Sunday with aggravated battery for allegedly ordering the dogs to attack Brandy. Police said witnesses, including Merkle, heard the boy shout ``sic her`` to the dogs and saw him drop the two leashes on which he was holding the animals when he saw Brandy approaching.

Brandy was returning home with groceries she had bought at a neighborhood store, said her stepfather, Rusty Merkle.

Associate Judge Charles Barish ordered the boy held in the Juvenile Detention Center at least until Friday, when he is to appear with a lawyer. State`s attorneys argued that the boy should be held because of the brutality of the attack.

The owners of the dogs, Jerry and Kimberly Roth, of Bridgeview, have been charged with obstruction of justice, a misdemeanor, for allegedly disobeying police orders by taking the dogs into their house after the attack and allowing the boy to hide there, Kooper said.

Kooper said the Roths told police that they had given the boy, a family friend, permission to walk the dogs Sunday afternoon. The Roths live about three blocks from where the attack occurred.

Relatives of the Roths said Monday that the couple was declining to comment about the incident.

The dogs are being held at the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge. Allen Glisch, the manager there, said the dogs were being watched for signs of rabies.

Read more:
Chicago Tribune

Oct 21, 1987 Evanston Law Aims to prevent Pit Bull Attacks

Oct 21, 1987 Law May Restrain Dog Owners

Evanston - Pit bull owners beware - Evanston doesn't like your pets.

The Evanston Police Services Committee made that clear last night when, after a public hearing, it passed "the nuclear weapon of animal control ordinances," according to one alderman.  This first-ever legislation, if approved by the city council, would require owners of pit bulls and other dangerous dogs to restrain their animals from attacking passers-by.

Although the proposal did not refer to any specific breed, Ald. John Bleveans (7th) said the nationwide uproar over pit bulls this summer prompted the aldermen to draft another dog control ordinance.  Extensive leash, license and noise control laws already exist.

"I live next door to five pit bulls.  If we had known that when we bought the house, we never would've bought the house," said 2nd Ward resident Leslie Swenson.  "The noise level and the smell are horrendous."

The three-page ordinance defines dangerous dogs as those with "a known propensity to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals.

At Swenson's suggestion, the ordinance was amended to restrict residents to one dog per single-family dwelling.  Currently, animal lovers can own as many dogs as they wish.

The ordinance also prohibits dangerous dog owners to keep theri pets on a porch or patio and requires the animals to be confined to a pen 6-feet high.

Furthermore, the ordinance says, the animals must be licensed and insured for not less than $100,000.  First-time violators could be fined as much as $500 and repeat offenders could be sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Evanston Police Cmdr. Frank Kaminski said he hadn't received any complaints of residents being attacked, but that the ordinance was a good preventive measure.

The Daily Northwestern, Ocot 21, 1987, p.7

Sep 10, 1987 Zion Police Kill 3 Pit-Bull Dogs

Zion - Zion police shot and killed three pit-bull dogs Wednesday afternoon in two incidents, Zion Police Chief Lloyd DeTienne said.  In the first incident, a city animal warden, Robert Bounds, 23, was attacked by two pit bulls outside an abandoned house at 3116 Gabriel Ave. in the suburb.  Bounds had been investigating a complaint that dogs were running at large in the area, DeTienne said.  After being repeatedly bitten on the hands and legs, Bounds managed to get to his radio and call for help.  Police officers arrived and shot both pit bulls dead.

Almost at the same time, the same officers received another complaint that a mail carrier was being attacked by a pit bull near the first incident.  The same officers shot and killed that dog.

Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL, September 10, 1987

Sep 09, 1987 Boy, 14, Faces Charges in Pit Bull Attack

Rockford - Fourteen year old boy commands his pit mix to attack a 13 year old boy he was fighting with.  Winnebago county prosecutors filed charges and the boy's parents gave permission for animal control to take the pit mix.

Rockford Register Star, Rockford, IL, September 09, 1987, p.3A

Aug 19, 1987 Forest Park Cops Kill Pit Bull in Cemetery

Forest Park police Sunday aternoon killed a pit bull dog that was found seriously injured in the Forest Home Cemetery. The dog, wearing no tags, had lacerations to its face and neck, a broken front paw, and it had been shot several times with a small caliber weapon.

Forest Park veterinarian John Hanover was contacted by phone, and he advised the police to use their discretion in either trying to capture the injured animal or "end its suffering." The dog was dispatched with three bullets, and removed. Oak Park and Maywood police departments were contacted to see if a dog fight was reported in the area, but police were unable to trace where the animal came from.

Read more:
Forest Park Review

Aug 07, 1987 Chicago 17-year-old Pit Bull Owner Charged for Attack

Chicago - Chicago police Thursday arrested a 17-year-old West Side boy after several police officers fired as many as seven shots into his charging pit-bull terrier. Yashir Figures, 17, of 631 N. 
Leamington Ave., was charged with interfering with police officers.

The Austin Neighborhood in Chicago Doesn't Need Pit Bulls
or Dogfighting
Nine policemen had responded to a report of a pit-bull fight in Figures` back yard. When they arrived, Figures and a man were ``teasing (the dogs) with a cat, building them up to this fight,`` said Austin District Patrolman Vincent Romano. ``And the cat was demolished.``

Figures ran into the house with his dog, and police then caught the other dog, authorities said. His owner fled in a car. Figures` younger brother removed Yashir`s dog from the house and tied him up to a post in the back yard, police said. But the dog broke loose and charged at least one officer.

Read more:
Chicago Tribune

Related posts:
Jul 16, 1987 Teen Held For Using Pit Bull in RobberyNov 09, 1986 Chicago Police Kill Attacking Pit Bulls

Jul 16, 1987 Teen Held For Using Pit Bull in Robbery

Chicago - Police charged a 16-year-old West Side youth with armed robbery Wednesday for using two pit bull terriers as weapons to rob another teenager.

The pit bulls were ``just as good as a gun,`` said police Sgt. Randy Barton.

Chicago Tribune  Accessed: 2011-12-22.(Archived by WebCite® at

Jul 06, 1987 Driver Unleashes Pit Bull On 2 Cops

Notice that in 1987, charging pit bull attacks were new. Police no longer make these kinds of comments to the media because people are VERY UNFORTUNATELY becoming habituated to the pit bull attack style.

Chicago - On the South Side early Sunday, one driver calmly opened his door and released a charging pit bull at two startled patrol officers, police said.

Police shot the attacking dog twice in the chest, but it still kept coming at them. The dog and its owner then fled, and the two officers were not injured in the attack.
``The thing was shot and it still kept coming; I`d be scared out of my socks,`` said Patrolman Robert Miller, a review officer at the South Chicago District station. ``You just don`t expect that kind of thing.``

Read more:
Chicago Tribune  Accessed: 2011-12-06. (Archived by WebCite® at

Jul 03, 1987 Waukegan IL To Hold Hearing On Banning Pit Bulls

"Although some animal-rights' advocates consider these laws overreaching, the biggest debate revolves around the statutes aimed at pit bulls. Some 40 or so communities have enacted or weighed these kinds of restrictions in the past year. Hearings will be held next week in two communities - Waukegan, Ill., and Littleton, Colo., - on pit bull bans.

``The statistics are clear: Pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds,'' says Larry Berkowitz, the Littleton city attorney."

The Christian Science Monitor