The owner of a Rottweiler that attacked an Evanston woman July 31 was fined $150 at a hearing Aug. 19.
The owner, Michael Prendergast, a vascular surgeon, assured the victim and police that the Rottweiler was up to date on its rabies vaccinations. Subsequently the animal’s veterinarian submitted the dog’s records to the Police Department.
The attack occurred at 6:30 a.m. July 3. The dog, named Ghost, was off-leash when it attacked a middle-aged woman walking her dog on Forest Avenue near Dempster Street. Ghost attempted to mate with the woman’s dog. The police report made available to the RoundTable redacted the names of all participants, but it confirmed that as she and her dog began to walk away from the Rottweiler, it bit her right forearm “without reason” and dragged her several feet down the sidewalk.
Her screams brought neighbors out to help her, according to the police report. A neighbor told police that the dog “refused to loosen up on its grip” on the victim’s forearm. Dr. Prendergast heard the commotion and saw Ghost gripping the victim’s arm. He ran over, removed Ghost from the woman’s arm and returned home with the dog.
An off-duty firefighter wrapped the woman’s arm in an attempt to stop the profuse bleeding. Dr. Prendergast returned to the scene to offer first aid. Paramedics from Engine 21 arrived shortly thereafter and took the victim to Evanston Hospital where she was admitted.
According to the police report, the victim, in “agonizing” pain, repeatedly told the dog’s owner, “Your dog dragged me.” The dog’s owner explained to police that although his backyard is fully fenced in, the fence door was ajar that morning. He was unaware the door was ajar when his wife let their three dogs out. In addition to the Rottweiler, they own an elderly and infirm Greater Swiss Mountain dog and a miniature poodle puppy.
Dr. Prendergast was given a citation for disobeying the City’s leash laws. At the Aug. 19 hearing for the citation, Dr. Prendergast pleaded guilty to having his dogs off leash and was fined $150. The victim of the attack was not present at the hearing. Ghost continues to live at the home of Dr. Prendergast and his wife.
Ike Igbo, City of Evanston Director of Health & Human Services told the RoundTable by email, “I was not involved in this matter nor do I know the full details of it. I forwarded [the RoundTable’s inquiry] to the Police Chief since it appears the Police responded to it.”
The Evanston Police Department considers the matter closed.
Council member Clare Kelly of the 1st Ward, where the attack took place, told the RoundTable, “I’m very dismayed about this horrific dog attack on one of our residents. The City of Evanston must respond to such a harmful and irresponsible act with a serious fine as a consequence and also to provide a deterrent to irresponsible pet owners. If the total and final fine is only $150, that would certainly be insufficient. I am currently waiting on further information from the investigation.”
Multiple attempts to reach the victim for a comment were unsuccessful.