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updated: 8/17/2015 10:20 AM

Elgin's dangerous Chihuahua, Toby Keith's bar, other news from dog days of summer

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Sunday Soapbox. All-about-dogs-more-or-less edition. One Daily Herald editor offers semi-bite-sized bits of wit and wisdom on news from the suburbs in the past week.

Dangerous Dogs:

I LOL'd when I read the passage in Elena Ferrarin's story describing how Elgin Councilman Terry Gavin's dog was officially declared "dangerous." It was a Chihuahua, and it was busted after it "growled at someone and attacked a grocery bag." A little further research the day after Elena's story ran showed that Daisy's crime might have been hanging out with the wrong canine. She and another dog, a pit bull, ran aggressively at a child and a parent carrying groceries.

Daisy is among 24 dogs in town decreed dangerous. Such dogs must be muzzled, have microchips installed and go through obedience training. Their owners must have dog liability insurance and follow other mandates. Gavin suggested, and the council is likely to approve, changing its rules to allow dogs to be removed from the list -- if they keep their nose clean for three years. Daisy and a German shepherd named Tayder are the two dogs in town that could qualify for removal from the dangerous list.

On a short leash:

Speaking of dangerous dogs, Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens said country music star Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill is "on a very short leash" after making last-minute payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars on an array of overdue taxes and rent to the village, Cook County and the state. The village earlier this month filed a lawsuit seeking to evict the bar from the village's entertainment district. Despite the payment, Stephens told our Chris Placek he wasn't sure if Toby Keith's lease would be extended beyond this year, saying other would-be tenants are "beating down my door." The drama is not unlike a good country song. Consider this passage from Keith's own "I Ain't Already There": "You know the funny thing when you play her game./ What you thought would change just stays the same: / Eviction."

Dangerous coyotes:

Experts swear they are timid and nonaggressive animals, but I can't tell you how many stories we've written about coyotes attacking small dogs. (Hey, this column's developing a theme!) A few months ago, we reported on a pack of coyotes that devoured a deer. So with Lee Filas' report of three coyote sightings within a month in a single Fox Lake subdivision, it seems a good time to repeat this public service announcement: When encountering a coyote, make a lot of noise: shout, clap your hands. But don't do that if the animal appears injured or has puppies. Don't turn your back on a coyote. Small pets and children should never be left unattended. Dogs should always be walked on a leash.

Even a short one.

OK, this has nothing to do with dogs:

So much for the theme. But I want to share the most inspiring story I edited this past week. It was Jessica Cilella's piece about 30 teen girls, half from the suburbs, who turned recycled refrigerators into "Icebox Derby" vehicles, which they raced near the Field Museum on Saturday. This was not about decorating, but creating machines using power tools. The derby is a ComEd program that gives girls, underrepresented in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math when they're older, some hands-on experience. "I love this program," said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd's first female CEO.

So do I.

jdavis@dailyherald.com

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