Jun 04, 2006 Aurora Pit Bulls Maul Two Women

Aurora - Screaming, punching and kicking, two Aurora women fought off two pit bulls early Saturday, but not before suffering wounds that sent both women to a local hospital.

"They tried to eat us for dinner," a tearful Joan Ware, 44, recalled Saturday afternoon, soon after leaving Rush-Copley Medical Center with 25 stitches on her legs. Ware and friend Katrina Harden, 33, who received five stitches on her left arm, were walking home from a neighbor's house about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when the two roaming dogs attacked.

"We didn't see them until they came between the cars," said Harden, who lives across the street from Ware on the 900 block of 2nd Avenue, where the attack occurred. "We were their target."

After arriving on the scene, Aurora police shot one of the dogs, a 2- or 3-year-old male, and the dog was euthanized later, police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said. The other dog ran away and had not been found by evening. Nor had police determined if the dogs, which were without collars or tags, belonged to anyone.

The incident occurred less than a week after police in Indiana's Lake County seized 15 adult pit bulls and one puppy in a Calumet Township home, where authorities said electric prods, a treadmill, medications and other alleged fighting equipment were discovered. And on Wednesday, Gov. Blagojevich signed three bills that increase penalties for people who allow dangerous animals to run loose or use them to commit crimes.

The Aurora City Council in 2000 put some restrictions on vicious animals, but efforts to restrict ownership of large-breed dogs in the city have failed, said Ald. Stephanie Kifowit.

"I consider pit bulls to be a large-breed dog. They are big, they are all muscle," she said. "We need to dig deep and start looking at our ordinance."

Kifowit said the source of the problem could be more common pit-bull breeding in Aurora.

"You see signs everywhere, `pit bull puppies for sale,'" Kifowit said.

"We need to start looking at more owner responsibility. We must crack down."

Another Aurora alderman, John "Whitey" Peters, agreed that a new ordinance or revision of a current one might be needed.

As for Ware, she said that if the two dogs have owners, she has a message for them: "They should be ashamed of themselves."

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Chicago Tribune

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