Sep 25, 2012 Dekalb pit bull kills dog - woman seeks stronger laws for dogs that attack pets

DeKalb - "Lilly meant the world to Doris Sermovitz."

Lilly, a miniature schnauzer, helped Sernovitz lose 70 pounds.  Lilly gave her a reason to get up and go for walks which helped her lose weight.  Then, during one of their walks, a pit bull escaped from a yard and mauled Lilly who died in Sernovitz' arms.  Servovitz was bitten by the pit bull.

"She also has trouble sleeping at night. Sernovitz’s boyfriend used to place Lilly on her in bed, and she would hold her as she fell asleep. Now, she has nightmares about dog attacks."

The pit bull had attacked a husky previously.  The pit bull owner has been unusually compassionate.  He said he had the pit bull put down because he didn't want this to happen again and he said he realized that it would have been difficult for Sernovitz to see the pit bull remain in her neighborhood.  He also sent her a condolence card with his phone number.

Police chief Gene Lowery stated that owners can only be penalized if a dog in public maims or kills a person and that there is no recourse in Illinois code for dogs attacking other dogs. 

He is wrong.  The pit bull had previously attacked a husky, and could have been designated dangerous for that offense.  

Illinois law also states that the owner of a dog is liable for any injury caused by a dog.  And state law does not limit municipalities' power to enact ordinances to further control and regulate dogs.

Lowery states that he supports legislation that only takes effect after a person or pet is attacked rather than acting proactively to prevent further horrors described here.

DeKalb is a home rule municipality which means that if residents of Dekalb prefer to not have pit bulls in their community, they may regulate pit bulls by banning them or by mandating that owners be responsible by requiring any or all of the following:
1. One million dollar liability insurance policy on the pit bull
2. All pit bulls be spayed or neutered
3. Secure fencing that might include 6 ft privacy fence and 6 sided kennels with a top and a cement
4. mandatory muzzling

Many municipalities fear two issues related to breed specific legislation concerning pit bull.  The first problem they fear is pit bull identification.  However, over 600 municipalities across the US have breed specific legislation and have been successfully able to enact a procedure for identifying pit bulls.  These ordinances have occasionally been challenged in court, but have withstood those challenges.

The second concern is the cost associated with enforcing BSL.  Best Friends Animal Society has created a wildly inaccurate "calculator" to scare municipalities with unbelievably fantastic costs.  The BSL calculator has been proven to be bogus.

Recently, that BSL calculator calculated that it cost 3 million dollars a year to enforce the 28 year old pit bull ban in Miami-Dade county.  When asked about this, the head animal control officer said that their entire budget is less than 3 million dollars and that enforcing BSL only cost 2 to 3 percent of their entire budget.

That does not seem to high a price to pay to protect residents from the horror of pit bull maulings on people and on beloved pets.  We all can agree that Doris Semovitz lost more than a pet and more than a companion that day she lost Lilly.

Read more:

Comment after story:
Diane D., Sycamore, Il (dkd607) wrote on September 25, 2012 2:46 p.m. ...
My Sheltie and I were attacked last summer at the Sycamore cemetary by a pitbull. Thankfully with the help of many neighbors we survived. Fortunately the pitbull was put to sleep because that area has many children and other dogs and obviously the pitbull could not be trusted. I did not get compensated by the owner and that is wrong. If you own a dog, you take full responsibilty for that animal. No animal can be trusted and owners need to be liable for them. I am sorry Ms. Sernovitz for your loss, I know what you are going through.
file photos of the breeds attacked
Related posts:
Sep 13, 2012 Berwyn pit bulls attack woman, police officer and kill small dog
Sep 06, 2012 Dog Owner: 'Neighbor's Pit Bull Killed My Dog'
Aug 13, 2012 Family tries to recover after fatal attack on pet
Jul 10, 2012 Waukegan woman’s canine companion killed by pit bull
Mar 27, 2012 Family Looking For Owner Of Pit Bull That Killed Their Pet

Sep 17, 2012 Pit bull jumps fence to bite 6 month old Yorkie in own yard

File photo of Yorkie puppy
Midlothian - Police responded to a call about a pit bull biting another dog in the 3800 block of 153rd Street. At the scene, officers located the pit bull, known as Princess, in the backyard of a home, but they were unable to catch it. The dog jumped a fence into another yard, where it bit a 6-month-old Yorkie, named Sparkles, on the leg, breaking the skin.

Sparkles was taken to the University Park animal clinic for treatment.

Charles R. Wilke, 37, of the 3800 block of W. 153rd Street, Princess' owner, was cited for allowing the dog to run at-large, and issued a Nov. 5 court date. A Cook County Animal Control Animal Bite Report was completed and faxed to animal control offices.

Read more:
Oak Forest Patch Accessed: 2012-09-19. (Archived by WebCite® at 

Sep 13, 2012 Berwyn pit bulls attack woman, police officer and kill small dog

UPDATE: Sep 19, 2012
Berwyn police had issued at least 29 citations to the owners of the pit bull that killed a small dog in the two years previous to the attack.  NORMA ARGUETA and FERNANDO TREVINO of 2640 Ridgeland ave. had abused their dogs, terrorized their neighborhood, failed to pay their fines, and Berwyn police failed to take the pit bulls away before a small dog was killed and the owner sent to the emergency room.

Berwyn - A pit bull crawled under a fence to attack a small dog being walked by a woman.  The woman was attacked when she tried to protect her dog.  The small dog was killed.

When police arrived, instead of immediately shooting the pit bull, police attempted to capture it and a police officer was also injured.  Once police had determined that the pit bull was extremely aggressive and an "immediate threat to everyone in the area," police fatally shot it.

At the same time, a second pit bull jumped over a five foot fence and was also fatally shot.

Police Chief James Ritz said that the pit bulls were very aggressive and it was a very dangerous situation.  Police are looking at charging the pit owners, but does not yet know if the charges will be criminal charges or local dog ordinance charges.

Read more:
Chicago Sun Times  Accessed: 2012-09-14. (Archived by WebCite® at
Chicago Tribune  Accessed: 2012-09-14. (Archived by WebCite® at

Sep 12, 2012 Thank you Virginia for keeping weapons grade pit bulls from coming to Elgin, Illinois

Loudoun VA - Tremain Dene Johnson, 44, of Lithonia, Ga., and Harry Ortice Puckett, 33, of Elgin, Ill., are charged with importing pet dogs into the Commonwealth of Virginia from another state without certificate of veterinary inspection, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The men were stopped on the Dulles Greenway when an Loudoun Animal Control officer...found the men were in possession of 10 dogs that appeared to be pit bulls or pit bull mixes of varying ages and degrees of health.

“By law we can seize animals if we feel their health is a direct or immediate threat. These dogs met that criteria and we had grounds for seizing,” said Adrienne Burton, chief of Loudoun County Animal Control.

Read more:
Loudoun Times  Accessed: 2012-09-12. (Archived by WebCite® at

Sep 12, 2012 The Troubled Past Of Teen Pit Bull Victim Charged In Fatal Highland Park Crash

UPDATE:  Carly Rousso who was 18 when she crashed into a family killing a 5 year old girl in 2012 has been released from prison after serving 3.5 years of her 5 year sentence.

Highland Park - A teen-aged girl hit a group of people with her car killing a five-year-old girl. Years before, the driver had been a victim of a pit bull attack that left her with scars, and psychological problems which led to substance abuse.

Last week, Rousso, 18, was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of an intoxicating compound after a crash that killed a 5-year-old girl in Highland Park and injured her mother and two brothers.

On Tuesday — the same day the funeral was held for the girl, Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento — Rousso was briefly jailed before she was released on bond with a curfew and an agreement not to drive or consume any intoxicants. During a court appearance, her lawyer also revealed that she is receiving outpatient treatment, though he did not specify for what.

Carly Rousso said she was afraid to sleep. After the Highland Park teenager was attacked by a pit bull three years ago, she had frequent nightmares in which an animal — often a dog but always something with teeth — would attack her.

She switched schools; her grades fell. She reported hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, according to court records filed in a lawsuit against the pit bull's owner.

Court records reveal that Rousso has had past struggles with substance use and emotional problems that stretch back years. Her family claimed in a lawsuit against the pit bull owner responsible for her attack that the attack led to many of her troubles. She also was later cited for marijuana possession and as a result participated in a 12-step rehab program, court records show. The information gathered from court records reveals a more complex portrait of the woman charged in the Labor Day crash.

Through a family spokesman, Rousso's parents declined to comment about the pit bull attack or their daughter's past struggles.

On May 1, 2009, Rousso was visiting a friend's home in Highland Park when a pit bull her friend's brother was walking on a leash suddenly attacked her without provocation, according to the lawsuit.

Read more:
UPDATE Chicago Tribune  Archive
Chicago Tribune

Related posts:

Jun 26, 2009 Highland Park, Elgin consider restrictions on pit bulls 
May 15, 2009 Highland Park Crumbles On Pit-Bull Ban Failing Victim
May 4, 2009 Highland Park Mulls Pit Bull Ban After Attack

Sep 06, 2012 Oak Forest Dog Owner: 'Neighbor's Pit Bull Killed My Dog'

RIP Powder

Oak Forest - Bonnie Fouts-Bell, owner of two American Eskimo dogs, was horrified to find that her 15 year old male, Powder, was in the neighbor's yard with the neighbor's pit bull.  Powder had been so severely mauled, the pit bull broke his neck, that the had to be euthanized.

The veterinarian that saw Powder after the mauling said that he believed Powders injuries were consistent with being dragged under the fence, but could not state this with certainty.

Even though the owner of the pit bull, RAUL BUSTOS, was not at home at the time, having left the pit bull unattended in the yard all day, he feels that the 15 year old dog must have wriggled under the fence into his yard to be killed by the pit bull.

BUSTOS also criticizes Power's owner because she has sprayed both her dogs and his dog when they have barking matches at the fence.  An interesting question to pose to BUSTOS would be "What did you do to stop the barking at the fence?"

Police chief Greg Anderson said that they could only send letters of recommendations to the owners to prevent the pit bull from killing again.  Anderson told Bouts-Bell that it is she who should make her fence pit bull proof.

Read more:
Oak Forest Patch  Accessed: 2012-09-10. (Archived by WebCite® at

Related posts:
List of Invasion Attacks
These are attacks where the dog invades a home, place of business, occupied building or securely enclosed yard expressly to attack.  Attacks in which the pit bull pulls another animal through their fence in an attempt to kill them are also considered invasion attacks.  Invasion attacks by dogs other than pit bulls are virtually non-existent.

Sep 05, 2012 Glen Ellyn Pit bull immediately euthanized after attack on child in home

Glen Ellyn  - Justin Wolter called police to help him dispose of a pit bull after it bit an 11 month old relative in their home.  When police arrived, the family had already taken the girl, who was bitten in the face, to get medical attention.

Glen Ellyn police called DuPage Animal Control who euthanized the dog and sent the pit bull's head to a laboratory for rabies testing.  Tests came back negative for rabies.

The dog owner was owner was cited for failure to license the dog and failure to get the dog vaccinated for rabies.

Read more:
Glen Ellyn Patch
89 WLS  Accessed: 2012-09-07. (Archived by WebCite® at
Chicago Sun-Times  Accessed: 2012-09-07. (Archived by WebCite® at