Owner Pleads Not Guilty
UPDATE 01/07/09: The owner of two pit bulls that attacked and mauled a 19-year-old woman pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in Lake County Circuit Court today. John Hodnik, 41, faces up to three years in prison if convicted of felony reckless conduct in the Sept. 11 attack. Lynn has filed a lawsuit against Hodnik seeking more than $50,000 in damages. Hodnik is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 24.
09/26/08: Dog Owner Charged
John Hodnik, 41, faces one count of reckless conduct for his role in the attack on Kiara Lynn. Hodnik appeared in bond court today where he was ordered held in Lake County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. He also has been ordered not to possess any animals. Lynn has been recovering and is scheduled to undergo plastic surgery soon to repair her ear.
09/17/08: Waukegan Reviews Laws
Kiara continues to recover after the violent pit bull attack. Local officials are now "revisiting" their dog ordinance. After a pit bull attack in 2006, Sierra Riley, 8-years old, the victim's family appealed to city council to adopt a law that strongly penalized owners of dangerous dogs. The city opted for a non-breed-specific ordinance.
The state of Illinois prohibits breed-specific law, as does the state of Colorado. This state law did not stop the City of Denver from enacting a constitutionally legal pit bull ban, nor a host of other Colorado cities. DogsBite.org has located several cities within Illinois that have breed-specific ordinances. These ordinances, however, may have existed prior to the state prohibition law, whereby making them immune to this law.
Both dogs that attacked Kiara were euthanized yesterday. According to Health Department spokeswoman Leslie Piotrowski, their owner, who has not been charged in the attack, relinquished custody of the animals to county officials Monday. Also on Monday, the city received a letter from PETA, requesting that Waukegan implement an anti-tethering ordinance. Passing such a law would be a basic step in the right direction.
09/13/08: Charges Pending in Attack
No charges have been filed against the owner of the pit bulls that attacked a 19-year-old woman, ripping off part of her ear and chewing up her arms and legs. Kiara Lynn, who is recovering from injuries at Vista Medical Center East, was attacked Thursday afternoon as she walked by a house with her friend Christopher Terry that had three pit bulls chained to the porch.
Waukegan Deputy Chief Dan Greathouse said the owner of the dogs will not be charged until authorities have interviewed witnesses and obtained a statement from Lynn. As of Friday, the dogs had not been turned over to Waukegan Animal Control, authorities said. The dog owner told officials that he will make a decision Monday on whether to surrender the animals to county officials.
Please read that last sentence twice.
Anthony Smithson, director of environmental health services for the Lake County Health Department said the dogs had been involved in previous biting incidents, but nothing as serious as the attack on Lynn. Presumably, authorities allowed the dogs' owner to keep the animals so that a person like Lynn could suffer a serious attack. Even in its aftermath, officials still seem to have little authority.
It was also reported that Lynn was told by doctors that they would not be able to permanently reattach her damaged ear. A second article states that a relative described Kiara Lynn's arms as looking like "they were stuck in a meat grinder." The News Hound, a local blog to the area, adds that it is time for authorities to ban pit bulls. "Sorry, pit bull owners, your friendly and lovable dogs are no longer wanted here."
09/12/08: Teenager Seriously Hurt
Waukegan, IL - Officials say a 19-year-old woman has been seriously injured in an attack by two pit bulls. Commander Wayne Walles says the woman was walking by a house that had three pit bulls chained to the front porch. Two of the dogs broke free from their collars and bit the woman's scalp, ear and body before the owner intervened. The woman was taken to Vista Medical Center East.
Waukegan Animal Control has impounded the dogs for observation, but a decision hasn't been made about the animals' future. This ought not be a tough decision. Euthanizing these dogs after such a violent attack, in which the animals broke their constraints for the purposes to attack, should be automatic. It's clear that the Waukegan dog ordinance is outdated and disastrous for dog bite victims.
09/04/08: Sioux City Teenager Attacked by Pit Bull Stepping Off Bus
09/02/08: San Antonio Woman Severely Mauled by Two Pit Bulls