Jul 31, 2013 Eldorado city leaders refuse to protect neighborhood from vicious pit bull

UPDATE: Shawnna Mitchell, owner of Charlie the Shih Tzu sued the pit bull owner in small claims court.  The suit was dismissed.

Dr. Cliff Morris changed his mind and determined that that Jonathan Roe's pit bull, which killed a Shih Tzu in an off property, unprovoked attack meets the criteria for a dangerous dog designation and Saline county officials advised Roe that the dog had been declared dangerous.  This means, among other things, that the dog cannot be off property without a muzzle.

This photo shows one of the owners walking the pit bull without a muzzle reportedly after it was deemed dangerous and must be wearing one.
The code enforcement officer told Mitchell that there have been problems with pit bulls in Eldorado for a while.  The Eldorado mayor had said that he didn't agree with "Doc Morris'" first assessment which included calling substantial lacerations "scratches" to minimize what the pit bull had done.  And many city leaders are frustrated with the Illinois state statutes and Doc Morris' stance on letting mauling pit bulls maul. (youtube video)
Eldorado - Dr. Clifford Morris, the Saline County Animal Control Administrator has declared the pit bull that dug out of it's yard,  charged over to a shih tzu and killed him is NOT vicious for a couple of idiotic reasons. The City Attorney, C. Marty Watson, and the county state's attorney Mike Henshaw agree with Dr. Morris that there is absolutely nothing they can do but wait for another pet to be killed or another person to be hurt, and the neighbors just have to suck it up and take their maulings like good little constituent voters.

Morris decided that he is not only a veterinarian and head of animal control, but he's also hearing officer and a judge and he can just circumvent the entire legal system.  FYI Dr. Morris, when a dog breaks containment, charges over to another dog and kills him in a protracted mauling off property and unprovoked, THAT DESERVES A HEARING.

First, Morris says that the shih tzu wasn't on its property or on a leash either.  SO WHAT, one has to ask?  Did the shih tzu's unleashed state in any way contribute to the pit bull's attack?  No.  The pit bull dug under a fence and charged over to the small puppy and killed him.  A leash could not have magically protected the shih tzu.  If you want to be gross and disgusting, Dr. Morris, you can give the owners a ticket for their sweet dead puppy terribly mauled to death at the feet of their son, but merely breaking a leash law does not mean that it is open season for a pit bull to maul a small puppy to death.  And it certainly does not alter the viciousness of the unprovoked, off property killing.

Second, the good Dr. Morris interpreted the frantic acts to save a little dog whose stomach was ripped open as an assault on the pit bull that justified the pit bull biting two people while off property and engaged in an unprovoked attack.  This is nothing short of despicable.  In what universe is protecting your small innocent dog from being ripped apart considered assault?  Morris also feels that dogs can bite people as long as they don't break the skin or inflict what he calls "scratches."

Third, Dr. Morris refused to find the pit bull vicious under Eldorado's ordinance, which supported the designation even though the state animal control ordinance specifies that local governments may enact stricter laws.

What has been lost in most reporting is that the owner failed to vaccinate the pit bull and in a previous incident, this pit bull bit another neighbor:
"City Attorney C. Mart Watson said just because the dog has a documented history of violence — another neighbor, Daniel Kinsey, was also bitten by the dog earlier this year — it cannot automatically be declared vicious by the village."

The end result is that the vicious pit bull is allowed to stay in the neighborhood to attack more pets and people before anything is done about it.  Dr. Morris, the future blood spilled is on your hands as well as the owner's because it is your JOB to use every resource at your disposal to protect people and innocent pets - and in that case, that includes the completely legal local ordinance that could have deemed this pit vicious.  It is your JOB to interpret law in a light most favorable to the safety and sanctity of the human and innocent pet community, not to protect a vicious animal that WILL attack again, there is no doubt of that.

The little shih tzu's family says they are considering legal action against the city of Eldorado, I support them in that.  I would also suggest that they read what transpired in Godfrey, Il.  Pit bull attack victims were revictimized by bumbling, ineffectual, cowardly public officials there.  It took the victim college student herself to get the pit bull that attacked her declared vicious and put down.  She could do what grown men and women who were elected to run the town of Godfrey could not.  And Charlie's owners can do the same thing under Illinois law:

(510 ILCS 5/15) (from Ch. 8, par. 365) 
The Administrator, State's Attorney, Director or any citizen of the county in which the dog exists may file a complaint in the circuit court in the name of the People of the State of Illinois to deem a dog to be a vicious dog.

And this is why Dr. Clifford Morris,  City Attorney C. Marty Watson, and county state's attorney Mike Henshaw are full of it.  If they believe that pit is vicious - which it is - they can file a complaint with the circuit court and put it in a judge's hands to interpret the law correctly and using case precedents.  Don't be like Godfrey officials; don't make the victims do your job for you.

And then, do the right thing and inact ordinances modeled after Lake county's new dog aggressive section of their vicious dog ordinance that has  enabled to the Lake county health department to have the pit bull that killed a shih tzu in July put down.

Read more:
Daily Register  Accessed: 2013-08-03.(Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6IbqAeTvU)
WPSD local 6
Disclosure News Online

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