Councilman: Almost all dogs shot by Elgin police are pit bulls

  • Fifteen dogs have been shot by police in Elgin since February 2010 and 14 of them were pit bulls, according to statistics City Councilman John Prigge received from police.

    Fifteen dogs have been shot by police in Elgin since February 2010 and 14 of them were pit bulls, according to statistics City Councilman John Prigge received from police. File photo

  • John Prigge

    John Prigge

 
 
Updated 11/23/2011 4:36 AM

Fifteen dogs have been shot by police in Elgin since February 2010 and 14 of them were pit bulls, according to statistics City Councilman John Prigge received from police.

Though some say it is cruel for police to shoot the dogs, officers can only use what they have access to in any given situation, police department spokeswoman Sue Olafson said.

 

Olafson said officers have used Tasers, fight sticks, pepper spray and tranquilizer guns in response to aggressive dogs. Tranquilizer guns require special veterinary training that only three officers have.

"If they are available during a situation, we attempt to use other means," Olafson said. "Unfortunately, if a dog is charging, we're going to protect people first."

Prigge originally spearheaded a push to ban new pit bulls from town in 2009. But in the face of opposition from dog enthusiasts, the proposal never made it through the city council to take effect.

Though the city council backed off on a pit bull ban, an ordinance took effect in June 2010 with special requirements for owners of dogs deemed dangerous or vicious. That classification comes only after court proceedings following aggressive action by dogs.

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There have been 11 dogs classified as dangerous and two dogs classified as vicious in Elgin since June 2009, according to police department statistics from Prigge.

The owner of a pit bull will defend her dog Dec. 13 against classification as "dangerous," in the latest such issue based on two recent cases, one involving Prigge.

Prigge appeared at an animal control adjudication hearing Tuesday to describe how a neighbor's pit bull charged at him outside his front door on the 800 block of Bellevue Avenue on Oct. 27. The animal's owner was charged $125 for having a dog at-large and $50 for her dog's dangerous behavior.

Prigge said he does not plan to bring up the pit bull ban again but the dogs might make it into this month's budget talks.

"I may suggest that we raise all of our fines from animal control to parking," Prigge said. But any more than that, he said, is up to another council member to bring forward.

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