A dog that attacked a couple walking their dog around midnight Saturday night has been removed from its home in the 1500 block of Greenleaf Street and euthanized with the consent of the owner, according to the Evanston Police.

A series of e-mail messages among members of a neighborhood group told the story of an attack by an “aggressive dog” while the couple were walking in the Florence/Crain neighborhood. An e-mail from one victim to the neighborhood group stated, “We want to let everyone know that a vicious pit bull was off leash Saturday night around midnight and attacked our chocolate lab while we were out walking. We were in the 1000 block of Florence and the dog apparently lives in the 1500 block of Greenleaf.  [Our dog] required stitches to her face and is spending the night at Animal 911. I was seen at [the emergency room of Evanston Hospital] for a leg wound.”

In another e-mail, one of the victims wrote, “The [police] officer thinks the dog was an American pit bull. It was big and brown, with a huge head – probably about 90 pounds – and once it grabbed onto our dog’s face, it was like its jaw locked and it would not let go. [The other victim] finally kicked it in the throat/jaw, and it let go of [the dog] but continued growling and lunging at us, as well as the police when they came with guns drawn. The two owners were on top of it and could barely restrain the dog. One at least was drunk and belligerent and later, apparently, arrested.”

The tone of several e-mails within the group became increasingly agitated, as the dog was returned to its owners overnight rather than having been taken to the animal shelter immediately. Neighbors said they called the police and urged others to do so. They also called Fourth Ward Alderman Donald Wilson, who spoke with residents and the police to help resolve the matter, according to the e-mails. 

Police Chief Richard Eddington told the RoundTable that when the police arrived on the scene, “They thought they were dealing [solely] with a dog-on-dog attack. The sergeant on duty was unaware that the dog had bitten a person, and he decided that rather than escalating the matter, the police should make sure the dog was secured according to City ordinance.” After the police ascertained who owned the dog, “They went to the house and, unfortunately, had to arrest one family member for disorderly conduct,” said the Chief. The officers did make sure that the dog was properly secured within the home, he said.

Chief Eddington said he spoke with Ald. Wilson, and then with the sergeant, on Sunday (June 22). “I asked [the sergeant] to call the family and have them take the dog to Animal Control and have it put into a pen, where they could bring it food and water.” On Monday afternoon the Chief told the RoundTable that the family had agreed to have the dog euthanized.

The dog was 14 years old, the Chief said, and in poor health – factors that could have contributed to its aggressiveness. “It was carried [on Evanston rolls] since 2006 as a ‘dangerous dog,’” the Chief said, “but this is the first [incident] on it.” He added the family was “extremely cooperative” with the police in getting the matter to this resolution.

Under Section 9-4-17, which regulates “dangerous dogs,” a “dangerous dog” is  “[a]ny dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or any dog which attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation; or any dog which, without provocation, in a vicious or terrorizing manner approaches any person in an apparent attitude of attack, whether or not the attack is consummated or capable of being consummated.”

The Code further states that owners of dangerous dogs must keep them confined on their premises either indoors or in an “enclosed and locked pen or a dog run area upon the premises [of the owner or person harboring the dog].” Outside of the confined area, dangerous dogs must be muzzled and kept on a leash.