"We do have a history of violence with pit bulls in town,"
said Deputy Chief Jason Taylor of theMattoon Police Department
Mattoon - Emma Monson has nightmares about a dog attack Friday just a short distance from her home.
"I still see that pit bull clamping down on the Chihuahua and killing it," Monson said.
On Friday morning, Monson took the tiny dog, owned by her daughter, for a morning walk just
as she had done many times before. Then she looked to the north and saw a dog jump over a
wooden fence and come running toward her.
"I would take my daughter's dog over to the neighbor's and it and another neighbor's dog would
lick noses. I've been doing it for a long time," Monson said. "Then I looked Friday and a pit bull
was climbing the wooden fence. It came running over toward the Chihuahua and I tried to hold it
up to save it. I was kicking at the pit bull and it was jumping on me."
In moments, the pit bull caught the smaller dog in its jaws and quickly killed it. Larry Dennis, a
neighbor, heard Monson's screams for help and came running over.
"She was yelling, “It's killing my dog!' I ran over to her and noticed her bloody hand. The pit
bull was holding the little dog in its mouth like a toy," Dennis recalled. "When I approached the
pit bull it backed off but it wouldn't let go of the other dog. I pulled on the leash (Monson had for
the Chihuahua) but it snapped."
The pit bull retreated to a nearby tree and toyed with its dead prey, causing more horror for
Monson. Police were called, and Dennis and his wife treated Monson's wounds, including
multiple bruises and a claw puncture that opened a vein on her hand. She was later taken by her
husband to the emergency room of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center.
Police arrived and animal control personnel came to secure the pit bull dog, officials said; they
did so without difficulty, according to officials. They took the dog to the Coles County Animal
Rescue and Education Center, where it is quarantined for 10 days.
Police gave a citation to Bruce E. Wilson Jr., the dog's owner, for harboring a vicious animal. That
is a city ordinance violation that includes the possibility of a fine.
Wilson said he is sorry for the incident, but cannot understand how or why his pit bull jumped
the high security fence at his home.
"He had never been aggressive toward other dogs," Wilson said of the 2-year-old black and white
pit bull he will request be euthanized. "The reason I put up that fence is because I do have dogs
here. I would never put anyone in jeopardy over my dogs."
Unfortunately, this is not first go-around with this breed of dogs, according to Mattoon Police
"We do have a history of violence with pit bulls in town," said Deputy Chief Jason Taylor of the
Mattoon Police Department. "And officers have heard over and over from owners, â€˜My dog
won't bite anyone.' The dog might be gentle toward them and their families, but not always with
people passing by."
Journal Gazette & Times-Courier