Pit bulls declared dangerous after attacking dogs in yard


TOLONO, Ill. (WAND) - Two pit bulls were declared dangerous by the Champaign County Animal Control after attacking two German shepherds in the shepherds' yard.

The pits were impounded after the incident, because they were not current on their rabies vaccines. The dogs were returned to their owners Monday.

Dogs can be impounded if they are running loose or if they have bitten a person.

When an animal is declared dangerous by animal control it cannot leave the owners' property without a leash and has to be spayed or neutered and micro-chipped within two weeks.

If the dogs go out on public property they have to be supervised by an adult and be muzzled.

Those who fail to comply can be fined or charged criminally.

Animals are only allowed to be ordered euthanized if they are found to be vicious. That means they attack someone without justification causing serious injury or death or if they have been found to be a "dangerous dog" on three separate occasions.

The owners of the shepherds, Jeff and Barb Holt, said they plan on taking legal action against the village. They said they want an apology from the village, because police did not impound the pits.

The Tolono police chief has asked the village board to come up with a new animal control ordinance.

Barb Holt said on the afternoon of March 5, she took her dogs outside to walk them. She said the pit bulls crawled under a fence into her yard and started attacking her dogs. They particularly went after the 12-year-old female shepherd, Chloe, who is arthritic. One grabbed her snout while the other ripped at her body.

The 8-year-old male shepherd, Champ, tried to fight off the 10-month-old pit bulls.

Police were incorrectly dispatched to the home of the pit bulls' owner, instead of the shepherds. On the way there, the officer saw Holt spraying one of the pits with a garden hose to try and get it off Chloe.

The officer yelled at the dogs, but they did not stop. So, he shot each of the pits with a stun gun.

After recovering, the pits ran off. Champ tried to chase one, but came back when the Holts called him off.

The pit bulls' owner was able to catch one and lock it in the house. The other was on the loose, until another resident picked it up after recognizing it from a post on social media. The dog was then returned to the owner.

Champ did not have any serious injuries. The responding officer took Chloe in his squad car and rushed her to the vet. The left side of her face is gone, including her ear.

Her chest was ripped open, and her legs were bitten. She goes back to the vet every day to have bandages repacked and is on ten different pain medications and antibiotics.

The police chief told the town board they need to change the current ordinance, that only allows him to write tickets for $75 every time someone leaves a dog or cat loose. The chief wants a new ordinance to define a vicious dog, dangerous dog, and potentially dangerous dog.

Barb Holt told the village board she thought her dogs were safe, because they were fenced in and pointed out that her grandchildren could have been the ones attacked.

They also questioned why the pits were returned to their owners. The owners also have three adult pit bulls.

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