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Mendoza: Report Your Neighbor If A Dog Is Being Trained For Fighting

City Clerk Susana Mendoza (CBS)

City Clerk Susana Mendoza (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — City Clerk Susana Mendoza says you should speak up if you think a neighbor’s dog is being beaten into fighting shape.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, Mendoza points out the two pit bulls that left Joseph Finley, 62, in critical condition at Rainbow Beach on the city’s South Side, were neither leashed nor registered.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

She said neighborhood intervention is crucial in cases of dangerous dogs.

“Please call 311, or call 911 if you suspect your neighbor’s dog isn’t registered, or if there is animal abuse occurring,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said that fewer than 30,000 of Chicago’s nearly 500,000 dogs are properly registered.

Mendoza spoke as she heralded a “Dogs of Distinction” contest, which will serve as as the carrot in the carrot-and-stick effort to get more dog owners to register their pets. Licenses cost $5 for neutered dogs and $50 for un-neutered dogs.

A license also requires the owner to show proof of rabies vaccination.

The city clerk’s office will launch a 90-day dog registration campaign, with all dogs registered by March 31 entered in the contest. That will be followed by Internet voting for five dogs chosen at random from the entries in the “Dogs of Distinction” contest, with the winner to get a $2,000 ruby and topaz-encrusted dog tag in the shape of the Chicago flag. Voters will be asked to pick the dog that best exemplifies “Chicago’s spirit.”

After the contest will come the stick. Mendoza said that, in the summer, a ticketing campaign would start on Chicago’s beaches and parks, targeting owners of unlicensed dogs. But she said she doubted police officers would be assigned specifically to hand out the tickets, with fines between $30 and $200.

Finley 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. Responding officers ultimately shot and killed the dogs.

Finley was taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in critical condition and underwent surgery.