The Nature of the Beasts: Illinois pit bull bullies

by Sam Vest

UPDATE: It was reported by Alton Daily News that the lawsuit was against three owners of Precious, MICHAEL McCAULEY who was walking Precious at the time of the attack,  PATRICIA D. GELZINNIS and GREGORY A. GELZINNIS.

EDIT:Precious, a pit bull with a history of vicious attacks inflicting severe injuries on both people and at least one pet dog, was being walked on a public street with no muzzle when a college student, Mallorie Vest, jogged around Precious.  Precious attacked Vest, causing severe damage with tissue loss, a broken finger, a near severed fingertip, and sprains.  Her parents, one a doctor and the other the surgeon that treated her, said she will need future reconstructive surgery and physical therapy. 

When it was reported that this was Precious' third human victim and that Precious was going to be returned to McCAULEY and GELZINNIS after a 10 day quarantine because animal control felt its hands were tied by Illinois' infamous Animal Control Act, previous victims and their lawyers came forward in comment sections of the news stories and blogs to describe the devastation  Precious had previously wrought.  A fourth victim that had not been mentioned in the original news story reported that her dog had been savagely and terribly attacked on her own property by Precious before the first human victim had been reported.

Although McCAULEY was named as the owner of the most recent lawsuit, The first reported human victim, Pamela Moore, a friend of GELZINNIS, detailed her attack in comments on Craven Desires.  Among the details she furnished, she asserted that GELZINNIS lied on a police report stating that she was an employee so that he could attempt to claim the attack was a work related injury.  Moore contends that GELZINNIS and his mother, Pat, knew the dog was a dangerous mauler because as soon as Pam walked through the door, Pat screamed at her to leave because the dog was there.  Pam could not get out of the door fast enough and was attacked as the cowardly owner, GELZINNIS, waited in a back room while his elderly mother attempted to pull Precious off Pam, according to Moore.  He cravenly allowed his friend to be mauled while hiding, impotent, from his own pit bull saying, "There was no sense for both of us to get bit." Makes perfect sense.

In comments in yet another story, Pamela Moore and her friends describe an attack that was so serious she needed reconstructive surgery on her arm.  She also relates details about Precious' behavior prior to the attack.  Moore said the Gelzinnis' knew their pit bull was so vicious that it could not be in the same room with visitors.  Moore reports that she and her children were "sneaked" into the GELZINNIS' home in an attempt to avoid a violent reaction by "Precious."  And when "Precious" did see people through a glass door, she hurled herself at the door in an effort to attack them.

The Village of Godfrey made no moves to have the dog declared vicious after any of the three attacks even though the current village administrator, Meladee Maggos, whose terrier mix was horribly mauled by Precious, likely would have supported some kind of action.
GELZINNIS reportedly told Pam he wouldn't have Precious put down;
the maulings were in his view "just the nature of the beast." (file photo)
Gelzinnis showed blatant and egregious disregard for human health and safety by walking Precious on a public street without a muzzle knowing the ferocity of Precious' previous human and dog attacks.  What is the nature of this beast, the Illinois pit bull bully, and why are they so secure in their right to terrorize and maul people and animals?

The nature of this beast immediately showed itself in the comments sections of recent news articles about Precious' third known human attack on jogger Mallorie Vest.  The comments filled up with pit bull defenders blaming the victim.  The first and chief blamer was Hope Rescues of Alton, Il, founded by JACKIE SPIKER and KIM LEE.  Hope Rescue's argument was that joggers and everyone of us should just gangway and cross the street because pittie owns the road, and anyone who doesn't know that just has no "common sense."  These beastly views line up perfectly with GELZINNIS' apparent view that he has every right to have a mauler and take it out in public.  Everyone should just get out of his way because Precious owns the road, and she'll own you, too, if you dare think otherwise.

I'd point you to Hope Rescue's comments in the news story, but Hope Rescues removed them. Luckily, Craven Desires saved them before they were deleted.  Here are some of those comments:

This is the nature of the beast.  Illinois bully pit bull owners blame victims for causing their attack because it is just "common sense" to assume a pit bull will attack you if you are near it.  This "common sense" blaming was taken to an extreme last year in Peoria when pit bull owner KRISTEN MICHAUD blamed her pit bull's victim for being attacked on his own property.  MICHAUD said that her neighbor, the victim, failed to use "common sense" and inform MICHAUD that he would be working in his own yard.  Makes perfect sense.

SPIKER's statements seem to reveal a misanthropic mindset that is possibly confirmed by online reviews of JACKIE SPIKER's treatment of potential adopters at Hope Animal Rescues.  One review reads:
We spent weeks searching for the right dog for our family. We were pre-approved, enjoyed our telephone experience with the rescue, dealing specifically with Jackie, and drove an hour to meet two pups, of which we were ready to bring one home. When both pups climbed on top of our three-yr-old, scaring her, Jackie screamed, "CHILDREN AND DOGS DO NOT MIX! GET HER (referring to my daughter) OUT OF HERE!" Jackie pushed us out the gate and disappeared. As we were collecting ourselves assuming we were not going to be approached before our departure, Jackie came out of the rescue. I thought she was going to make sure our daugther was okay and offer some words of encouragement... completely the opposite. She got into my face and yelled at me for wasting her time and for not taking the process seriously. We will still rescue a dog as we believe it is a wonderful thing to do (UPDATE: we have adopted a wonderful dog from another rescue) ... but, I would caution anyone with children to deal with Jackie. If so, you may want to request the shelter use a leash and introduce one dog at a time which did not happen in our case (after all, most of her dogs come from Animal Control and you have no idea what their true situation is). Our failure to adopt was not the fault of the pups, after all they are just pups... Jackie is completely unprofessional. What a very sad day for our family. UPDATE: If you feel compelled to write a negative review, this shelter may call you, email you, intimidate you and ultimately threaten to sue you... or, at least they did to us. I stand by my statements as accurate from my account.
No one questions JACKIE SPIKER's devotion to the dogs, or condemns SPIKER for denying their application.  They simply object to being harassed, blamed, and insulted for trying to adopt a dog.  A SPIKER defender suggests that SPIKER's misanthropic behavior is a result of being extremely devoted to her dogs and only willing to adopt dogs to the most qualified and best suited adopters.  However, an online document suggests another, much less altruistic criteria SPIKER may be looking for in potential adopters.  When seeking investors for her for-profit doggie daycare and boarding facility, she boasted online that 67% of the people adopting her rescue dogs became customers of her for-profit company.  If her claim is true, her non-profit rescue creates a pool of 140 potential new customers a year for her for-profit doggie daycare.

However, Hope Rescue's JACKIE SPIKER and KIM LEE don't have to worry quite so much about attracting investors anymore because JAIME and MARK BUEHRLE have become their benefactors.  In addition to long time support given to Hope Rescues, in 2011 the BUEHRLEs gave  Hope Rescues $200,000 for the purchase of a 13 acre property and will build shelter buildings as well as a home for SPIKER and LEE.

MARK BUEHRLE is, of course, a major league pitcher until recently pitching for the White Sox.  He's quite a pitcher, too.  In April 2007, he pitched a no hitter and in July 2009, he pitched the 18th perfect game in baseball history which explains the $58 million four year contract he signed with the Marlins in December 2011.

Mark Buehrle is an AVID hunter. He is the type of hunter that annoys you with his "look how big my dick is" hunting stories where he'll brag about his kills. He recently bragged to a completely un-enthralled throng of Chicago reporters about taking down a black bear with a bow and arrow.  –thinds
And in this same short time span, BUEHRLE goes from making the news for his hunting exploits, including bowhunting a baited black bear and gushing about it like a 12 year old back in 2007, to publicly wishing injuries on MICHAEL VICK because VICK killed animals for enjoyment, and most recently becoming a celebrity spokesperson for the NO KILL Best Friends Animal Society. That's quite a drastic turnaround.
No Kill?  More like MO' KILL
 Just weeks after signing a contract with Miami and 9 months after adopting his first pit bull from Hope Rescues, he publicly endorsed BFAS's proposed legislation to end a 23 year old Miami-Dade county pit bull ban.  Mark and Jaime, 9 months after becoming pit bull owners themselves, felt qualified to use their celebrity status to tell Miami what's good for them as spokespeople for BFAS.  Jaime Buehrle said, "When my husband, Mark, became the new pitcher for the Miami Marlins, we were excited to move our family down to Florida and join our team's community.  But then we found out our family wasn't welcome in Miami-Dade County, because one of our rescued dogs, Slater, is a pit bull."

As new pit bull owners, JAIME and MARK BUEHRLE do not yet know that this photo can be used as proof that they are irresponsible owners and parents because no one should ever leave ANY dog alone with a child (at least that's what they say to blame victims after a family pit bull mauls a child.)
Wow, it sounds like that poor BUEHRLE couple just got blindsided by that 23 year old pit bull ban, doesn't it.  They just had no clue...  Right.  It's the nature of the beast, though.  Jaime Buehrle, having worked with BFAS since at least 2008 trying to adopt out a pit bull mix with behavior problems that included attacking men and strangers due to a "sort of post traumatic stress disorder" into an unsuspecting neighborhood, had certainly heard a whisper or two about BSL.  The Buehrles visited BFAS in Utah twice and Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for BFAS and Jaime's texting buddy, says of the Buehrles, "They're the cream of the crop, man."  They also knew when they adopted Slater, so named because he reminded the couple of a muscle bound, exceedingly stupid TV character, that Buehrle's contract was about to end.  In other accounts, the Buehrles suggest that Mark would not have signed with the Marlins if they could not find a place to live with their pit bull.  This is the hovel they managed to scrounge up an hour's commute from Marlin park because of the Miami-Dade pit bull ban their free choice to own a pit bull.

Despite what the Buehrles said, their move with a pit bull to a ban area was anticipated and well planned.  Ledy VanKavage already had drafted legislation repealing Miami-Dade's pit bull ban and gotten Florida legislators to sponsor it just in time to coincide with the Buehrle's move to Miami.

VanKavage is the author of Illinois' Animal Control act amendments to protect pit bulls and other dangerous dogs and their owners.  And this brings us full circle to four time mauler Precious and her owner GREG GELZINNIS.  VanKavage wrote Illinois Animal Control Act amendments to take public safety and welfare decision making powers away from local governments and to create an onerous burden on those wishing to deem a dog dangerous or vicious.  To further protect owners of dangerous dogs, even irresponsible ones like GELZINNIS, she created a lengthy and complicated appeals process.  The Act, which prohibits BSL has already played a part in a tragic circumstance in which the town of Johnstonville, IL, correctly identifying pit  bulls as a specific danger to their community, and passed ordinances to ban them.  Informed of the BSL prohibition by Ledy VanKavage, they had their hands tied and were forced to drop the ban.  Less than two years later in that same small town, a young boy was fatally attacked by pit bulls.

If there's any doubt that VanKavage's intent in crafting Illinois Animal Control Act amendments was to protect dangerous dogs and their owners, one need only read what she herself chose to highlight on her own BFAS "Pit Bull Terrier Initiatives" news pages.

 There, she crows about the first person in Illinois to successfully overturn her attacking pit bull's dangerous dog designation, to the horror of her neighborhood, as a victory.  This owner refused to even muzzle her aggressive pit bull after it had attacked a dog.  The conclusion of the article states that this move saved the mauling pit bull's life when it did no such thing.  Deeming a dog dangerous in Illinois does not give anyone the authority to euthanize the dog. And all the owner had been required to do was muzzle her dangerous, biting pit bull in public.

And more proof that the Illinois Animal Control Act serves to keep dangerous dogs in our communities is the outrage occurring in Godfrey, Illinois.  The first news reports highlighted the fact that after three serious reported human attacks, the village of Godfrey was going to return the dog back to the owner claiming their hands were tied.  While the dangerous and vicious dog laws are complicated and onerous, there were and are remedies to this situation but the village of Godfrey was and is seemingly unwilling to pursue a vicious dog designation for the protection of the villagers.    It is the victim herself, Mallorie Vest, who is filing the suit on behalf of the Madison County state's attorney to have Precious declared vicious.  Once again, the burden falls on the victim to hold the pit bull owner accountable.

This is the nature of the beast in Illinois and what gives Illinois pit bull owners a defiant sense of entitlement.  It is time for Illinois to demand animal control laws be changed in favor of public safety and local control rather than favoring the rights of a few who feel they need to own dangerous dogs.  It is just common sense.