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Article updated: 8/6/2013 11:03 AM

Pit bull euthanized for attack that killed small dog in Wauconda

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By Conor Morris

The Wauconda pit bull that attacked and killed a smaller dog in a Wauconda park has been euthanized, Lake County Animal Care and Control officials said Monday.

Animal Care and Control Coordinator Robin Van Sickle said the dog's owners, John Bender and his sister, Amy Bender, of Wauconda, had relinquished ownership of the dog to animal control July 26, three days after the attack. The dog, named Chuck, was euthanized Thursday, Aug. 1, officials said.

"The owners had decided they did not want to fight the investigation," Van Sickle said.

Animal Care and Control officials had made sure the owners knew they were planning to euthanize the dog, she explained. Chuck had already been declared dangerous by animal care and control last November after a bite involving a man and his dog in Cook Park in Wauconda.

The dog's latest attack, on July 23, killed a 20-pound Shih Tzu named Shibui Fong, as the animal was being walked by a dogminder around 8 a.m. in Cook Park. Witnesses said the pit bull was unaccompanied and had no collar, tags or a leash when it attacked the 10-year Shih Tzu owned by Wauconda resident Lisa Didier.

Chuck was taken into custody of Animal Care and Control the day of the attack, and John Bender was cited with one count of dog at large and one count of disorderly conduct. He is scheduled to appear in Mundelein branch court on Aug. 23.

"It's certainly unfortunate that a dog's life had to end, but also that this pit bull's life ended as well," Van Sickle said.

She said pit bulls as a breed are sometimes perceived socially as inherently aggressive. She said it's up to the owner to know and properly train what she called "stereotypically aggressive" dogs so attacks like this don't happen.

"Any breed has the potential to be an aggressive dog based on how they're raised or trained or neglected," Van Sickle said. Chuck went through a determination process with Animal Care and Control to decide his fate, she said. The other option would have been to require Chuck to be kept in an enclosure anytime he was outside, and wearing a muzzle anytime he was outside the enclosure.

Most likely, if Chuck had not had a history of bite incidents, the dog could have been rehabilitated and put up for adoption, Van Sickle said.

Despite this, Didier said she thinks pit bulls are genetically predisposed to violence. She said owners like Chuck's only make matters worse.

"What I'd like to see happen is that they (the pit bull's owners) never own a dog again," she said.

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