Man demands change to Illinois law after dog was brutally attacked

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:37 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LOVES PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - A dog owner wants rules changed in Loves Park when it comes to dog attacks after his own dog almost lost her life.

“I thought she was gonna bleed out because there was blood all over me, all over her,” John Watters said.

Waters remembers deciding to take his dog, Peanut, for a walk during a warm Wednesday. The duo made it halfway down his Loves Park block when he says, in a flash, his neighbor’s pit bull latched itself onto Peanut’s hind leg.

“The only thing I could think about...I wanted to save my dog’s life, so I actually dropped, with my back first, right on top of their pit bull. I didn’t even care if I got attacked because of it; because I wanted to save her,” Watters expressed.

He says after the attack, he couldn’t believe the owner of the pit bull drove away from the bloody scene with only an apology. Peanut’s injuries were so extensive she needed fifty stitches to close multiple puncture wounds and a four-inch gash on her leg.

Watters says he invited the neighbor to his home so he could see the damage his dog had done. He recalls his neighbor telling him that the reason his dog got loose was because the city took away the fence in his front yard.

However, Watters disagrees and believes the neighbor’s son was taking the dog out of the car and forgot to put it on a leash.

“I was so scared when I’d seen what kind of damage after she got into the car, and I’d seen blood all over the place and her skin just hanging there. Cause the vets like, the dog bit pretty good into her muscle too,” said Watters.

In Winnebago County, under Illinois state law, a dog attack falls under two determinations: a vicious dog attack and a dangerous dog attack. Since no plastic surgery was needed or death occurred, Peanut’s incident was considered a dangerous dog attack.

(510 ILCS 5/2.05a)

Sec. 2.05a.

“Dangerous dog” means (i) any individual dog anywhere other than upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog and unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner or custodian that behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal or (ii) a dog that, without justification, bites a person and does not cause serious physical injury.

(510 ILCS 5/2.19b)

Sec. 2.19b.

“Vicious dog” means a dog that, without justification, attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death or any individual dog that has been found to be a “dangerous dog” upon 3 separate occasions.

“It generally does not allow for us to take seizure of the animal,” said Roger Tresemer who is the operations manager with the Winnebago County Animal Services.

“I even said ‘so you’re telling me even if a dog attacks or maims a kid the same rules apply?’ They’re like, well yeah that’s the rule because it’s considered property of the owner,” said Watters.

Watters says Peanut has been doing great in recovery and most of her energy is back. Although, she still remains on pain mediation and need assistance around the house at times.

Loves Park Mayor, Greg Jury, tells 23 News that all issues related to pets and animals falls under the jurisdiction of the Winnebago County Animal Services.