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State declines to prosecute pit bull owner following attack

On June 2, the Ogle County state's attorney announced that the owner of three pit bulls involved in an incident that occurred in April will not face any criminal charges. A 63-year-old retired teacher was jogging in her Ashton neighborhood when she was attacked by three pit bulls. Her husband happened to be riding by on his bike when he saw the scene and rushed in to rescue his wife.

The victim spent four days in the hospital for treatment of the wounds, which required surgery. Deep scars remain along with tissue and nerve damage. More than a month after the dog attack, she reported that she still experiences pain because her muscle was torn from the bone. She is able to walk but has not yet managed to resume running or riding a bicycle. Previously, the victim and her husband ran and biked daily.

The dogs were taken after the attack and euthanized with the owner's consent. The prosecutor stated that there was no evidence the owner was aware that the animals had a tendency toward violence. Animal control may cite an owner for allowing dogs to run loose but not for the bite itself. In addition, Animal Control may only take action if there is a prior report on the animals that put the owner on notice.

The standards for bringing a criminal and civil case are different because of the standards of proof involved. A person who is injured because of a dog bite may be able to recover damages from the owner even if the state declines to prosecute the case. A local attorney may be able to help review the evidence and determine the best approach for seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Source: Opposing Views, "Owner of 3 Pit Bulls that Attacked Illinois Jogger, Adena Ebert, Will Not Be Prosecuted ", Phyllis M Daugherty, June 02, 2014

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