Owner Cited In Dog Attack; Alderman Suggests Pit Bull Ban

Dogs' Owner Cited After Attack On Jogger

Updated 1/3/12 – 4:18 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — As a man fights for his life after being attacked by two pit bulls, Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) says it is time for the City Council again to consider banning the breed.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Fioretti says he has heard “nothing but bad” results from the ownership of pit bulls, “no matter whether you’re in the South Side or West Side or North Side.”

Fioretti says something has to be done.

“Maybe it is something the city council should take a good hard look at,” in terms of what’s happening in our neighborhoods and with the control of these type of animals,” he said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

Fioretti says anyone whose pit bull bites a person should get jail time, not a mere ticket.

Joseph Finley, 62, was jogging on the Lakefront Path near 77th Street in South Shore, when two pit bulls attacked him.

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.

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 Stroger Hospital of Cook County in critical condition and underwent surgery. He was recovering on Tuesday, but his condition was not available.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, Finley’s brother was speaking out about the dogs, which neighbors described as “vicious.”

“I was floored and, basically what I think is that there needs to be some stronger laws concerning vicious attacks by dogs; strong laws that apply to the owner of the dog, you know, because they must be held accountable for the action of the dog,” Gregory Finley said.

The owner of the pit bulls, Jimmy Johnson, 57, received two citations from Animal Control for having unlicensed dogs and two citations for not leashing his dogs. Those infractions carry fines of up to $10,000, but offenders usually pay much less.

In the South Shore neighborhood where he lives, plenty of people know about the dogs and some believe the penalties for dog attacks are simply too light.

In the duplex where Johnson lives, neighbors knew and feared his pit bulls.

“When we first moved here, man, they was just innocent little puppies, but as they got older, man, you know dogs, man. They learn their evil side. They get vicious,” Valentino Jackson said. “We couldn’t even take out our trash without them coming at us.”

The dogs were named Uno and Bullet and, even though they were aggressive, Jackson said he is surprised they got out of the back yard.

“This gate is really strong, it is really heavy. That’s why we don’t understand how these dogs got out, because it takes a lot of muscle just to pull this gate open and closed,” Jackson said.

But Jackson said Uno was capable of climbing up a ledge in the back yard and jumping the rear fence.

Another neighbor said Uno had gone after her before.

“I went out to take the garbage out one day and I stuck my foot out the door, because that was the first day that I met the dog. And I stuck my foot out the door and he went and grabbed for it,” Regine White said. “I knew right then and there he was a vicious dog.

Fioretti said the city needs get tougher with owners of dangerous dogs.

“This situation and the severity that happened here; we need to hold owners responsible. We need to increase the penalties,” Fioretti said.

Are Pit Bulls Always Dangerous? Some Say No

While many lawmakers and everyday people regard pit bulls as dangerous, others say the issue is not the breed, but how the dogs are trained.

Retired Chicago Police Officer Jim Sak, who now lives in Aurelia, Iowa, had has service dog taken away because of a ban on pit bulls in the town. Sak had a stroke more than three years ago, and said he needed the dog, Snickers.

After a judge’s ruling last week, Sak got Snickers back.

“As soon as they talk about pit bulls, the first thing comes out of their mouth is ‘They maul the person,’” Sak said last week. “What about the ones that are good? And the ones that help people? Not the ones that have been trained how to fight.”

  • Craig

    These idiot aldermen need to concentrate on cutting spending in an effort to fix the budget, rather than worrying what breed of dog a person chooses to have.

    • lj

      Chicago needs to start new legislation Banning Pit Bulls.

      • windycitymindy

        Read ALL the other comments but yours LJ – THANK YOU EVERYONE for your love, support and thoughtful comments. Punish the deed not the breed.

      • Afro

        Lets say it’s like black kids growing up in Chicago V.S. black kids growing up in rural America lets ban the Chicago breed, makes sense to me

    • cal

      No they should ban the dogs first. And then get people like you out of here too.

    • Summer

      I agree its not the dog its the owners. I have Pitt bulls and i take full responsibility of them. They are wonderful amazing, loving family members.

  • Leyla Forrest

    how about blame the owners (which is where blame squarely falls) and not the breed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Border Agent69

    I have plenty of friends that have these dogs and my kids love them and they are harmless.

    All dogs are like children it all depends on who raises them.I’ve have been attacked and bitten by a poodle,begal and chihuahua and never been attacked by a pitbull..

    It’s lovely how the GOVERNMENT just wants to keep banning things

  • Jose

    How about banning gang mengers and drug dealers.

    • LaKeisha

      They are already banned, but our society refuses to deal with it. Police and city officials are too scared they will be accused of racial profiling. We sure wouldn’t want to offend anyone!!!

  • the rapture

    let’s add to the ban – stupid owners, careless breeders and anyone who trains the dogs to fight…

  • Chivi

    All you have to do is hold the owners accountable. They should have to pay insurance coverage on these dogs. It should be mandatory for people that own these kinds of pets to have insurance coverage. Great idea!!!

  • Carol V.

    It is not the dogs fault it has been trained to be a killer. It is the owners fault.
    Just as it is not an innocent child brought into this world if it turns out to be
    a gang-banger and a murder. It is the parents fault. Should there also be a ban
    on humans????? Sounds stupid doesn’t it? Well that is how stupid putting a
    ban on pitt bulls is. It is all in the way they are raised…….. I have one and
    she is not aggressive. I know many other people who have them also that are
    great dogs. It is just that STUPID PITT BULL MENTALITY…..If you don’t know about them, you have no right to judge them by what you hear.

    • Jaloney Caldwell

      MYTH. Darla Napora did not mistreat her pitbull remember? Denial is not just a river in Egypt. She knew the dogs and defended them just like you are and she is DEAD.

  • cev

    All people say there should be a ban on Pitt Bulls because they have never
    been around one, never got to know them and see just how special these
    dogs really are. They are the most loyal, easiest to train, and are in fact, just
    large lap dogs….or so they think. Its peoples fear that makes them all believe
    these dogs are evil. If society wants to ban everything that makes us fearful then maybe we can put a ban on Tornados…….those are scary and kill people

  • Carl

    I have owned a Doberman sicne the day I was born and have never once had a viscous one. IT IS NOT THE BREED BUT HOW THEY HOW RAISED that defines a dogs behavior. It does not matter if it is a Pitbull, Doberman or a Poodle. If the the dog is raised in a poor envoirment it will be dangerous. ALD. Fioretti should get his facts straight before he opens his mouth. Invest more time and money into going after cruel owners rather then punishing the breed for the actions of idiots.

    P.S. My current doberman has been nothing but loving and playful with my 8 year old godson since they first time they met so just because she is a so called “Dangerous Breed” does that mean to get rid of her Firoetti?

  • James Budzisz

    Mr. Fioretti, should be ban from holding office.

  • Lyndia

    Would you say that to my face? I bet you wouldn’t. Why? Because you know what would happen and it would not be nice.

    • THEE Yard Ape

      the above was @ Lyndia. Sorry for any misunderstanding, LOL !!

    • Leroy Goldberg

      What would happen when someone sees your face that’s not nice? Would they throw up?

      I wouldn’t be surprised, you already make me sick.


  • Jeremy

    So my therapy dog that is a pitbull will all of sudden turn and attack?? lol stupid ass ignorant people No brred of dog is inherently mean or else they would be mean as puppies too. Labs and chihuahuas are actually higher in the bite list but don’t cause as much damage so they don’t get bad publicity. Put the people in jail for a few years and they won’t do this. Insurance won’t matter, insurance is required for cars but look at how many don’t have it. Banning things only makes it more cool and rebel so it will never work. We should start banning people and let them go extinct, poor people, mean people, rich people, cat owners, guinea pig owners, and of course just the general person.

  • Shay

    As it said in the article “Fioretti said the city needs get tougher with owners of dangerous dogs.” OWNERS need to be held accountable for the actions of their pets and heavily penalized. Having the government step in to “protect us” from dogs is a step in the wrong direction. Each dog of any breed has the potential to be deemed dangerous and it is up to us, the humans, to be personally responsible for their actions. Research is showing that breed bans do not work and cities that currently have them are considering or already have repealed them.

  • Nan

    almost all dog attacks are by unneutered dogs…….let’s try to pass(again) a city ordinance that says all dogs must be altered unless their owner buys a breeder’s license and let’s make those licenses expensive because breeding is a business………….

  • Martin

    I am not a fan of dogs…will never own one…but what a stupid plan. Its the owners and trainers (or lack of them) that cause the problem, not the breed. German Shepards, Rotts, and Dobies pit just as often and as savagely

    • Afro

      I tell you right now what I would say to your face. “Dam you is ugly you could plant your face in some cookie dough and make gorilla cookies”

      • Afro

        that was @Lyndia

  • http://www.dogforum.net/dog-general-discussion/34252-bsl-hits-home.html#post366141 BSL hits home. - DogForum.net | Dog Forums and Community

    […] […]

  • Lyndia


    • Julie

      Ha I bet you are a real classy person. Without ever meeting you I’m sure your a piece of trash that this world would be much better off without. Grow up, I’m sure your kids are the ones running around breaking laws, and when they’re caught, everyone is only after you because were all racist. That is all the time I’ll waste on someone like you.

  • Pete

    All dogs should be muzzled when unattended by the owner or locked up.
    They should be on a leash.

  • Leroy Goldberg

    Lyndia you are right. They are vicious animals that will attack and kill you. They are ugly and unpredictable and should be destroyed. ALL OF THEM…once this is achieved we will enter the era of………………..


  • malcom

    don’t just talk about it. Do it! those dogs should be banned if not they should be registered and have at least 500,000 in insurance for incidents like this.

  • Sebastian

    We had a pit bull attack on the northside on the 26th but it didnt make the news because no one got seriously hurt. The pit was being watched by friends during the holiday and didnt have the yard secured enough to stop the pit from attacking a puppy being walked in the alley. I never heard screams like I heard that night. I went to help and as a pet lover, I couldnt just stand there and watch this adult pit tear the puppy apart. I jumped on the pit and grabbed it from the back of the neck. After pounding its head down several times, the pup was released. Two other people got on top of me to hold the dog down, but that pit wanted nothing more but to get that dog back. Even wtih us on top he broke loose from our grip and started circling the alley looking for the pup. I went back to get a bat just in case it wanted to attack anyone else out there. I did get all scratched up but the look on the pits eyes will never be forgotten. He was on a mission to kill that dog. I never thought I would agree with this ban before this, but when you have a pit by the back of the neck swinging its head around, you sort of have a change of opinion. I couldnt imagine a family losing a pet or a loved one because this breed is just so unstoppable during an attack.

    • Julie

      I had a similar experience with a rott, do you think I judge all rotts? No, I blame the the owner who I know had not done the following: well socialized the dog, never any real training, and never fixed the dog. This attack wasn’t this poor rotts fault it was these owners. I’ve met several rotts that are big old babies. Also, if you have never owned a pitt you really have no room to judge. I adopted an adult pitt awhile back and I’m certain she wouldn’t hurt a fly. When she hears someone coming in the door she sits wagging her tail anticipating meeting the person. Shes a favorite at the dog park, and has been attacked not once but twice at the dog park by beagles. Since I’ve owned my pitt the only people who are ever concerned about her being a pitt are those who have never had a real experience with a pitt, and not just what they hear in the media. Not once has my vet, or trainer, or doggie day care owner ever judeged my pitt because they simply know what a typical pitt is like, a big lovebug! Until you have done your research, and actually interacted with a pitt from a responsible owner you have no room to talk. I’m sure once you really see what a real pitt is like you will likely change your attitude. Until then do not be naive, it makes you look just as stupid as the irresponsible owners.

    • Lyndia

      You make a lot of sense. I personally think they should me banned from the city.

    • Summer

      Oh please that was just a Pitt without its owners..It was not used to other dogs. My Pitt Bulls live with a tiny Maltese and a poodle Maltese mix. They get along just fine. they play and share food and toys. However, if my Pitts are away from me they become very depressed and do not eat. Pitts become very attached to their owners. I’m sorry that happened to the pup. But, people show how ignorant they are by judging these dogs. Own one and you will see how smart they are. Its the owner who should be punished of any dog who hurts anybody or anything. But, My Pitts will not let anybody in my home, car or yard unless I let them to say its O.K. they are protectors.

  • Brishauwna

    @Lyndia, As usual, you speak from your ass. You obviously don’t know sh!t. Pitbulls are not ugly like your nappy ass. You and your tribe are unpredictable and should be destroyed!

    • Lyndia

      Brishauwana, why don’t you try to destroy us like your nasty ancestors destroyed the Indians. You and your kind are nothing but savages and thiefs. That is why you are hated ALL OVER THE WORLD. (Not to mention that you are nothing but a nickle dime coward and paper tiger, that is all.)

    • Summer

      I agree with you 100% I say ban uneducated morons named Lydia. Educate yourself on a subject before you post. Watch “PIT BULLS and PAROLEES” Awesome show awesome breed.. Then we have cowards like Lydia threatening people & dogs on the web with a gun. I think the Aldermen should have this idiot checked out for criminal background and gun permits.

  • Petfriendly

    Education is key. Educate your neighbors about s/n and ordinances already in place that serve to protect animals and humans. Punishing, placing rules and regulations on guardians of dogs of a specific breed is unfair and just plain wrong. Alderman Fioretti needs to hold a press conference that sets the record straight. NO BSL. No special rules and regulations for guardians of animals of a certain “look”.

  • Cassy

    Lyndia- I would love for you to meet my pitbull…she is so loving and would warm your heart…I won’t make myself sound ignorant and say mean things about you here…if you want to grow up and open your mind a little let me know…I will gladly change your mind with a few kisses from my baby girl

    • Lyndia

      The only thing I have to say about your pitbull is this: I would LOVE to meet her with my 357 pointed at her face and loaded with 357 slugs. I would adjust the sites and let her have it right between the eyes a couple of times. Bring her on over, it got something she will ENJOY.

      • Summer

        @Lyndia you sound like an uneducated moron. Really.. I would love to meet you and I don’t need a 357. You sound like a coward as well as an ignorant pathetic bully. But only over the Internet. Better watch your mouth. Just because you try to sound bad on the web doesn’t mean you cant be found..I nor my Pitts need a 357 to take care of you. but bring it on ill shove it up your Ass.

      • Jaloney Caldwell

        I know many people who carry a gun now just for protection from pitbulls! It is sad but true and people who have seen people shredded, dismembered and killed are going to want pitbulls dead as it is rational to want animals that maul like Lions kept away from people.

    • Jaloney Caldwell

      BREAK STICKS. Made to help pitbull owners get their Sweet ;pitbulls to let go during an attack. Now should she bring her own break stick or just her gun?

  • http://phoenix-criminal-lawyers.com/2012/01/should-city-be-able-to-ban-pit-bulls/ Should City Be Able To Ban Pit Bulls? | Phoenix Criminal Lawyer

    […] Robert Fioretti (2nd) told CBS Chicago that he has heard “nothing but bad” results from the ownership of pit bulls throughout the ci… and that the time has come for the City Council to “take a good hard look” at whether […]

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