Owner of dogs responsible for Palatine attack fined, ordered to remove dogs from village
That's how the human victims of a Palatine dog attack described the outcome of the case against the dogs' owner who was fined and whose dogs are forbidden within the village limits.
"It (the attack) never should have happened," said Amanda Ingram, who suffered finger fractures trying to defend her small dog who was killed in the May 24 attack by Meleina Teodoro's Akita mix and an American pit bull mix. "You're just releasing the dogs into another community where they can attack someone else."
"She gets to take her dogs home," said Ingram tearfully. "My dog is dead."
Chase Braun, whose dog was seriously injured in an attack that occurred immediately after Ingram's, described the outcome as "disheartening."
"I feel the village of Palatine could have done more to make the village safe," said Braun, who was bitten in his right bicep while attempting to shield his dog.
Teodoro pleaded guilty to eight ordinance violations involving dogs biting people and biting other animals Wednesday during a brief hearing at the Palatine Police Department. Village prosecutors dropped five other violations.
As part of her guilty plea, the 22-year-old former Palatine resident agreed to remove her dogs from the village, enroll them in a training program within 60 days, provide proof when they complete the program and pay $850 in fines and court costs.
During the hearing, Teodoro's attorney Todd Cohen informed administrative law judge James Messineo that his client had moved out of the village with her Akita mix Charlie and her American pit bull Nala. Messineo previously ordered the dogs be placed outside the village limits while the case was pending. Teodoro complied with that order, Cohen said.
Teodoro "is appreciative of the Palatine police and appreciative of the system," said Cohen, adding his client "wants to move on from this." She did not comment after the hearing.
The attack occurred about 6:50 p.m. May 24 in the 200 block of West Washington Street in Palatine. According to police, one of Teodoro's relatives was walking the dogs when they escaped and attacked the two smaller dogs in two separate instances.
The woman walking the dogs, Julia Paulino, 32, of Rolling Meadows, was charged with reckless conduct for failing to secure the dogs with a proper collar, according to police. Paulino next appears in court Thursday in Rolling Meadows.
Michael J. Schostok, the attorney for Ingram and Braun, called the village's response "irresponsible."
"I understand that your pet is your best friend," Schostok said. "Ask Amanda and Chase about their dogs."
The Palatine Police Department issued a statement expressing condolences to the victims and their pets. The statement acknowledges "there are those who would not be satisfied with any outcome short of euthanizing the dogs."
Palatine "is not in the vengeance business," the statement read.
"Understanding the present legal environment ... as well as the ordinances at the local and county level, this desired outcome would have been nearly impossible to achieve and would have been very prolonged and not afforded the protections we have achieved through the agreement," the statement read. The plea agreement "secured a certain outcome that protects the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the village."