Mar 2, 2008 Pit bull attacks on the rise, Ledy VanKavage thwarts all attempts to protect people and pets

There have been numerous pit bulls attacks across Southern Illinois and many subsequent attempts by municipalities to strengthen laws governing vicious dogs.

Danny Tucker, animal control officer in Herrin, recently spoke out about an attack in that community in which two pit bulls killed a dog that was chained up in its owner's yard.

The most recent reported incident is a weekend attack in West Frankfort. Franklin County Animal Control Supervisor Jarrett Broy said a pit bull attacked its owner after having lived in the home for eight months and showing no previous signs of aggression.

Articles published in The Southern Illinoisan show Murphysboro officials attempting to have two pit bulls declared vicious in February after the dogs had been named in several incidents, including the death of another resident's dog.

In October 2007, the city council in Johnston City revised a vicious dog ordinance that made specific reference to pit bulls. The revision made the ordinance non-breed-specific.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals got involved in Cutler in February 2006, for an attempt in that community to create ordinances specifically naming pit bulls.

Officials against Cutler's attempt to single out the breed said the decision to name pit bulls and Rottweilers, specifically, stemmed from the nature of their breeds' reputation and not a specific incident.

In 2006, the vicious dog problem had gotten so bad in Illinois that Gov. Rod Blagojevich got involved with the signing of three bills aimed to curtail attacks.

The laws didn't name any specific breeds but did tighten the leash on owners.

Saline County felt the burden of the battle over vicious dogs and those who love them in July 2005, when a pit bull terrier named Frankie caught the public's attention.

Frankie was declared vicious after being accused of biting five Saline County residents, but his owner was given the option to keep the dog under strongly regulated guidelines. After conferences with public officials, the owner decided to have the dog euthanized.

The City of Zeigler chose to take the non-breed-specific approach to its vicious dog ordinances, in November 2004, but added language that better enabled the city to hold owners responsible for their dogs' actions.

The move to tighten the laws came after a pit bull and a mixed breed attacked several animals and were captured and destroyed.

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The Southern
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