May 07, 2003 Rockford Dog Attacks Down; Pit Bull Incidents Up

 Officials May Require Local Dogs to be Microchipped

Rockford - In the wake of high-profile dog attacks in Rockford, a study of Winnebago county animal services dog bite records show that pit bulls are far and away the biggest canine offender.
The number of reported attacks is down slightly from last year - 150 bite reports for the first four months in 2002 against 146 bite reports during the same time this year, according to a Rockford Register Star review of available records.

But pit bull bites are on the rise as the breed's population, probably mostly unregistered animals, continues to increase locally.
That has Rockford aldermen calling for steep fines and others calling for local dogs to be microchipped.

Gary Longanecker, interim director of Winnebago County Animal Services said that his office has handled 36 percent more pit bull attacks this year.

From 2002 through April 2003, Winnebago County Animal Services recorded 692 dog-bite reports.  Of those reports, 144, or 21 percent, involved pit bulls.  German shepherds were a distant second, making up 12 percent of the bite reports.

Rockford Register Star, Rockford IL, May 07, 2003, p. 1