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Cops: Algonquin man sicced attack dog on wife
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Jonathon Richard

 

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Published: 12/8/2009 3:24 PM | Updated: 12/8/2009 7:29 PM

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A 29-year-old Algonquin man charged with commanding his German shepherd, described by police as an attack dog, to sic his wife during a domestic dispute could face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

The dog, a highly trained guard animal named Falco, met an even worse fate Monday when he was killed in a four-car pileup that also claimed the life of a Wauconda man.

Falco, McHenry County authorities said Tuesday, was riding in a car driven by its owner's father, Robert C. Richard, 64, of Towaco, N.J., when it was struck by another vehicle near Prairie Grove. The dog was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. Richard was hospitalized.

Authorities say shortly before the crash Richard had taken his son's dog from McHenry County Animal Control, where Falco had been since an incident last week in which he followed his owner's instructions to attack his wife.

Jonathon Richard, of the 100 block of Mohawk Trail, is charged with aggravated battery, unlawful restraint, obstructing justice and domestic battery stemming from the incident Friday morning that left his wife hospitalized briefly for what police called superficial bite wounds.

McHenry County Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Cisner said the victim had tried to leave the house after a dispute turned violent, but her husband dragged her back inside and called upon Falco.

"He gave the dog the command in German to attack, and that's what he did," Cisner said.

The victim eventually escaped and called 911. Sheriff's police responded, arrested Richard and transported him to the McHenry County jail. He is now free on $31,000 bond pending a court date Wednesday.

Falco, authorities say, was one of several dogs on the property of Richard, who police said trains German shepherds in Schutzhund, a sport in which the dogs display skills in obedience, tracking and protection.

Debra Quackenbush, spokeswoman for the McHenry County Department of Health, said animal control officers are continuing to investigate the bite, as well as trying to determine what to do with the other 12 dogs on the Richard property. Jonathon Richard is not allowed back on the property because of an order of protection obtained by his wife, so family members are trying to find someone who can take care of the animals.

"If no one steps up to take care of the dogs, animal control will take custody of them and we will place them into foster homes in the short term until this is worked out," Quackenbush said. "They will be cared for. That's the focus of animal control."