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Updated 1/1/12 – 9:30 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A man was critically injured Monday morning when he was attacked by what police described as two pit bulls while jogging along the lakefront in Rainbow Beach Park.
Police said the man was attacked around 6 a.m. in the 7700 block of South Shore Drive. Joseph Finley, 62, was jogging on the Lakefront Path when two dogs attacked him. Police said the dogs were pit bulls, but the city’s Animal Care and Control Department said it was still trying to determine the precise breed of the dogs.
Police said the dogs came out of nowhere, grabbed Finley by the foot and dragged him to the ground, biting him on the arms, legs and face.
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When a nearby resident heard the victim’s screams, he ran outside to try to intervene.
“I heard somebody saying ‘Help me, help me.’ So I looked out the window, I couldn’t see him, but I seen two dogs, so I came out and came around. It was two pit bulls mauling this man, he was on the ground,” said South Shore resident Stanley Lee, who witnessed the attack. “So I went back into the house, I got a bat and I came back out. I started whacking the dogs with the bat, but they wouldn’t let up.”
At one point, Lee said the dogs turned on him, so he swung at the dogs with his bat. The dogs then continued mauling Finley until police showed up. Officers fatally shot the animals.
Finley was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition and underwent surgery.
“We would like to thank everyone. We are grateful and appreciate the good Samaritans and police officers who came out to rescue him,” a family member of the victim said in a statement issued through the hospital.
Police were questioning the owner of the dogs Monday night.
Seventh Ward Ald. Sandi Jackson calls the attack “an egregious act that really requires severe consequences.”
A city ordinance calls for a possible fine of up to $10,000 and a potential jail term of up to six months for owners of unrestrained dogs that cause serious bodily harm.
South Shore resident Conyasha Brown, who lives next to the park, said she has seen people use dogs for fighting in the park.
“One day there was a whole lot of dogs with their owners, and I said, ‘What are you doing with all these dogs?’ And they said they were going to fight in that big field right there. So I just came home because I don’t like dogs,” she said.
Cherie Travis, commissioner of the city’s Animal Care and Control department, said the two dogs were adult males, were not neutered and weighed about 70 pounds each.