Chicago Pit Bull Ban? Alderman, Family Of Mauling Victim Call For Stricter Dog Owner Laws
Reacting to the vicious mauling of a lakefront jogger by two large pit bulls, a Chicago alderman stated Tuesday that the City Council should revisit stricter laws governing ownership of the controversial breed within city limits.
Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) told CBS Chicago that he has heard "nothing but bad" results from the ownership of pit bulls throughout the city of Chicago and that the time has come for the City Council to "take a good hard look" at whether Chicagoans should be banned from owning the breed altogether.
The family of Joseph Finley, 62, the jogger who was left in critical condition after the Monday attack and remains in intensive care, has also called for stricter penalties for the owners of dogs who attack people -- in Finley's case, very nearly ending the man's life.
"They must be held accountable," Gregory Finley, Joseph's brother, told the Chicago Tribune. "These two dogs almost killed my brother."
Joseph was mauled by the 70-pound dogs around 6 a.m. while he jogged in Chicago's Rainbow Beach Park. He was bitten over his entire body, including his face, arms and legs and the attack only came to a stop when police fatally shot the animals.
Jimmy Johnson, 57, the pit bulls' owner, was ticketed Tuesday for both failing to keep his dogs under control and not having city licenses for them after he came forward to authorities.
Though Johnson was not charged criminally, his fines total $2,000, Fox Chicago reports.
Johnson's neighbors were familiar with the now-deceased dogs, named Uno and Bullet.
Valentino Jackson, one neighbor, told CBS that, as the initially "innocent little puppies" grew they learned their "evil side."
"We couldn't even take out our trash without them coming at us," Jackson added.
The Chicago City Council last considered a citywide ban on pit bull ownership in 2007, but the measure did not attract enough support to become law.
According to NBC Chicago, Fioretti, noting his office had already received many calls in support of a city pit bull ban, said he will introduce a resolution calling for a review of city laws concerning irresponsible dog owners when the City Council reconvenes on Jan. 18.
In addition to potentially banning pit bull ownership in the city, Fox reports the resolution could call for raising the penalties facing irresponsible dog owners to fines of $5,000 or possibly even jail time.
Chicago Animal Care & Control Commissioner Cherie Travis previously told the Chicago Sun-Times that an outright ban on pit bulls would be a "kneejerk reaction" and that she is "hesitant to malign an entire breed."