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A 62-year-old jogger who was left in critical condition after being attacked by two pit bulls early this month says the animals were "trained to kill" and believes the owner of the dogs should face criminal charges.
Joseph Finley was jogging along Lake Michigan at Rainbow Beach Park on Jan. 2 when he spotted the dogs and ran to avoid them, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Then, they attacked.
“Those dogs are coming at me consistent, constantly; yanking and biting and tearing and pulling and gnawing at my body, like it was … like I was a hamburger,” Finley told CBS Chicago from John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital of Cook County on Tuesday.
Finley lost his foot in the attack, and came very close to death.
"It was a rough go for several days. He was on a breathing machine. He was very sick. He [lost] a lot of blood. I mean, his injury was nearly equivalent to stepping on a landmine," Dr. Andrew Dennis told NBC Chicago.
Finley told reporters that he kept telling himself to survive as the attack was happening. The Sun-Times reports:
“I just knew that if I ever lost consciousness, he was going to tear into my throat,” Finley said.
Twenty, maybe 25 minutes passed, he said. At last, as he felt himself fading, he saw lights and heard gunshots. As the shots came, he felt the teeth fall away from his leg and his arm.
Finley probably would have died if a neighbor hadn't spotted the attack and beat the dogs with a baseball bat until police arrived and fatally shot the dogs.
Jimmy Johnson, 57, the pit bulls' owner, was ticketed for both failing to keep his dogs under control and not having city licenses for them after he came forward to authorities. He was fined $2,000, but Finley and his family believe the man should face criminal charges. Johnson's neighbors also told CBS that they feared taking out the trash because the dogs would come at them.
“I think there should be much more stricter rules for things like this and the owners to be thoroughly, 100% held accountable in every way,” Finley told the station. “It’s not right at all that you can’t walk outside without the fear of being attacked by wild or vicious animals of this nature.”
Despite the loss of his foot and severe injuries, Finley hopes he will be able to run again one day, and doctors called him an "incredibly strong man." He will soon be moved to a rehabilitation center.
Since the attack, some aldermen have suggested banning pit bulls in Chicago altogether, but have since backtracked, saying that leash laws and dog registration should be more strictly enforced.