Cops & Crime: How Hanover Park woman got 'Justice for Buddy'
Buddy, an 8-pound Yorkshire terrier and member of the Dary family for a decade, was doing his business as usual on an unseasonably warm Saturday morning in late January last year when it happened.
Two much larger neighborhood dogs broke free from their yard and descended on Buddy outside his Hanover Park home. The Yorkie didn't stand a chance.
Buddy's owner, Donna Dary, tried to rescue him, but the attacking dogs turned on her, forcing her to go for help.
"I'm screaming for help while they're basically killing my dog," Dary told us Wednesday. "They're chewing him up."
By the time the loose dogs' owner retrieved them, Buddy lay bloody and battered on the garage floor of the family home. He died later that day at an animal hospital.
Over the next few days, Dary met with animal control officials and Hanover Park police. All offered their sympathy but told her there was nothing they could do to help.
Dary wasn't just devastated. She was determined.
That paid off Wednesday, when the Illinois Senate unanimously passed the Justice for Buddy Act.
'This is wrong'
The legislation, also expected to win House approval and Gov. Bruce Rauner's signature, allows the designation of someone as a "reckless dog owner" if their dog is deemed dangerous for killing another dog and is found running at large twice within 12 months of being deemed dangerous. If that occurs, the owner would have to surrender their dogs to a licensed shelter, rescue or sanctuary, where efforts would be made to find them new homes if possible.
A reckless dog owner also would be prohibited from owning dogs for up to three years.
The work that led to the act's creation began when Dary, unsatisfied with the response she was getting from local authorities, reached out to state Sen. Laura Murphy of Des Plaines and state Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. Fighting for the legislation for the past year "hasn't been easy," she said.
"Our dog was a family member," Dary said Wednesday after the Senate vote.
"Our kids grew up with him. You love something so much, and for it to be taken away from you violently -- we loved him so much and we said, 'This is wrong.'"
The dogs that killed Buddy still live in the neighborhood, and Dary admits it's tough seeing them in their yard when Buddy is gone. However, she said, those dogs' owners have been "very kind and remorseful" and have even offered support for the Justice for Buddy Act.
"We don't want dogs to be put to sleep, but we want to educate owners and train their dogs," Dary said.
Hit and runs on rise
Nearly 6,000 pedestrians in the U.S. died after being hit by vehicles in 2016, the most in more than two decades.
Worse yet, according to a new report by AAA, the drivers in more than one in five of those crashes didn't stick around to help.
According to the report, 2,049 people were killed in hit-and-run crashes in 2016, the highest number on record and a 60 percent increase since 2009. About 65 percent of those killed were pedestrians.
Illinois ranks among the worst states for deadly hit-and-runs. The state saw 69 of them in 2016, the most since at least 2006 and the fourth-highest total in the nation, ranking behind only California (337), Texas (233) and Florida (206).
The report doesn't offer much of an explanation into why the numbers are rising, but it shares some insight on what works and doesn't work to deter hit-and-runs. What works: alert systems, like one recently deployed in Los Angeles, that increase the likelihood of a hit-and-run driver being caught, and immigrants living in the country illegally to receive driver's licenses, eliminating an incentive to flee. What doesn't work: stiffer punishments.
In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that "harsher traffic safety laws may make the problem worse," the report states.
New card, new scam
Hoping to reduce identity theft and fraud, Medicare began issuing recipients new cards in April that no longer include their Social Security numbers.
Never content to allow an opportunity go to waste, scammers are taking advantage of confusion around the launch, according to the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois.
Here's how the new scam works: You receive a call from a person claiming to work with Medicare, telling you there is a problem with your new card. It was lost. Or maybe someone tried to use your ID number. To resolve the situation, the scammer needs your Social Security number.
In another version, the scammer claims you must pay for your new card and they need payment information, like a credit card number, to get it to you.
The BBB says Medicare isn't calling consumers about the card switch, which is free. To avoid becoming a victim, never provide personal information to a stranger, especially one who calls you unsolicited. Don't confirm or give out your full name, address, Social Security number or any other personal information.
"Scammers look for any opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers," said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the BBB.
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