CHICAGO (CBS) — A serious dog fight is brewing in Chicago. Some city officials are mulling over a possible ban on the pit bull breed after a jogger was attacked Monday morning, but a disabled Chicago Army veteran is worried he’ll lose his service dog as a result.
As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, the animal that helps former Army Sgt. Chris Middeford get through the day is Mira and she is a pit bull.
In 2003, Middeford was a young Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan. Without warning, an improvised explosive device blew him out of his vehicle.
“I have a traumatic brain injury, four anchors in my right hip and my whole lower back is shot, and on top of that I have PTSD,” Middeford said.
After years of hospitalization, he’s now out on his own with Mira, a 5-year-old pit bull, who helps him by calming him down, picking up things he drops and helping him stay balanced when he walks.
Middeford got the dog from Bensenville-based “Pits for Patriots,” a group that trains heavily-in-demand pit bulls as service dogs for disabled military veterans and first responders.
“Once they become trained, loyalty is an understatement,” Pits for Patriots’ Greg Yearwood said of the breed, “They are just the best animals to be around.”
When Middeford first met Mira, he was worried because of the breed’s reputation. He’s not anymore.
“I was completely amazed,” Mitteford says. “She’s a lap dog.”
He’s concerned that if the city bans the breed, Mira would be taken from him.
“I’d leave Chicago, I would. In a heartbeat,” he said.
Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who suggested Tuesday that a pit bull ban he studied, said Wednesday he now believes it is unlikely.
“We’re going to make sure that he keeps that dog here in the city of Chicago,” Fioretti said.
Fioretti said that, later this month, he will introduce an ordinance that simply “cracks down,” on pit bull owners who violate registration and leash laws.