Dog attack begs question with some bite
By Denise Crosby firstname.lastname@example.org July 31, 2012 5:02PM
The shaved area and bite marks are barely visible as Yolanda Baldwin comforts her Yorkie "Jazi" while they sit on the steps of their North Aurora home on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Baldwin and a friend took their three dogs to the quarry area in the Big Rock Forest Preserve on Jericho Road earlier this July when a loose dog attacked. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times MediaYolanda Baldwin gets a kiss from her Yorkie "Jazi" while they sit on the steps of their North Aurora home on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Baldwin and a friend took their three dogs to the quarry area in the Big Rock Forest Preserve on Jericho Road earlier this July when a loose dog attacked. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 14, 2012 5:11PM
It’s a story that begs the question, what would you do?
It’s a beautiful July morning. You are taking your three dogs for an early morning walk by a Kane County Forest Preserve quarry, when you run into someone with three more dogs, all on leashes. One of your pooches — the only one not on a leash — approaches this trio, and the owner protectively picks up her Yorkshire terrier, but puts the little pooch back down when you assure her your dog is friendly.
Then, without warning, another of your dogs grabs the Yorkie in its mouth and begins shaking it violently.
The Yorkie’s owner manages to dislodge her dog from the jaws of your pet. And your surprise turns to alarm when you see the injured dog lying on the ground apparently in shock — unresponsive and bleeding from its chest. The Yorkie’s owner is in a panic. And before any information can be exchanged, she scoops up the wounded dog to rush her to an animal hospital.
The attack was, of course, unintentional. And you don’t have the woman’s name. You don’t have her phone number.
So how much effort would you put into trying to find her? To find out what happened to the injured dog. To find out if you have any liability?
Would you do nothing but pray the dog’s wounds were superficial; that the owner never found out who you were? Would you avoid the quarry from here on out, fearful you might run into her or other witnesses?
Or would you go back to the preserve, trying to get information on the woman’s identity? Would you check with authorities to see if anyone reported the attack? Would you call around to vet clinics in search of an injured Yorkie?
Would you contact the injured dog’s owner if you found out her name after reading about it in the newspaper?
Well, here’s your chance.
Yolanda Baldwin wants the owners of the animal that attacked her dog at around 6:45 a.m. July 19 at the Big Rock Forest Preserve (off Jericho Road in the southwest corner of Big Rock Township) to contact her. It was a young couple, she says, between the ages of 25 and 30; and the attacking dog looked like a German shorthair.
Jazi, her Yorkie, still walks with a limp and must be confined to her cage for six weeks. The dog is, however, recovering from her wounds. But Baldwin, a security aide at the Elgin Mental Health Center, has a $1,500 veterinarian bill she’s having trouble paying.
“When you are a pet owner,” she says, “you have to take responsibility for what they do.”
Kane County Forest Preserve Police Chief Mike Gilloffo says his office generally gets two or three reports of dog attacks a month.
The forest preserve district has three designated areas for dogs to run without leashes — Schweitzer Woods in Dundee; Fox River Bluff in St. Charles; and Aurora West in Sugar Grove.
Too often, says the chief, folks disregard the leash law in the many other forest preserve areas because they “think their dog is a good dog and that he’ll listen to me.”
In addition to attacks, complaints also come in about dogs running up to joggers or horseback riders. Even if the pet isn’t going to attack, Gilloffo said, an animal rushing at you can create tremendous anxiety.
To try to offset the problem, forest preserve police are stepping up efforts to enforce the no leash policies. It’s up the officer to give a warning or a ticket, Gilloffo said, which can be a simple $50 fine; or could include a court appearance and $500 fine if the attack is against a human or is particularly aggressive against another animal.
He’s not sure where this attack would fit because “of course, we’ve not been able to talk to the other party.”
I’m betting that won’t change. I’d like to think most of us would do the right thing. But even Gilloffo said finding these owners would be difficult, as they probably would not return to the quarry after the attack. Still, maybe this couple really has tried to locate Baldwin. Maybe they will never read this story and thus, remain clueless.
But Baldwin’s name is now out there, which at least ups their chances of finding her.
“I don’t blame them for what happened,” says Baldwin. “I just want them to do the right thing ... I know I would.”
How about you?