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Columnist
What will it take to keep dog under control?
By Amy Mack | Daily Herald Columnist

Merideth and Patrick Kirmse want McHenry County officials to do something about their neighbor's dog, which has attacked neighbors and other dogs.

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/19/2007 12:21 AM

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Nurse Merideth Kirmse says she knows if she fails to follow up on her job "someone could die."

"And that's what's going to happen here," the frustrated and angry Algonquin resident said after dealing with a neighbor's pit bull on more than one scary occasion. "That dog is going to get out and attack one of our kids."

In the wake of a pit bull attack that mangled two Cary-area children and injured several adults, the Algonquin woman and her Scott Street neighbors fear the same could happen on their block.

The dog has twice chewed through the fence, run loose numerous times, bitten other dogs and gone after people, including Merideth's husband, Patrick.

They feel McHenry County Animal Control needs to do more and wants them or someone to follow up on the numerous complaints filed against the dog and its owner.

Animal Control and health department officials agree but say the current law permits them only certain steps.

The dog has already twice been declared "dangerous" by animal control, health department spokesman Debra Quackenbush said. There is an ongoing investigation into a recent attack on another animal.

Define 'dangerous'

Dangerous means "a reasonable person is in fear for himself (or a companion animal)" from an animal, she said. Animal Control can't arbitrarily seize and destroy the dog, but they are working with the McHenry County state's attorney's office to get it declared "vicious," which would permit stronger steps. Still, Quackenbush said the dog should have been leashed and muzzled based on the current designation. And, clearly, it wasn't either in the recent attack when it chewed through the fence and attacked two other dogs.

Algonquin police and the state's attorney's office are now investing the latest attack. A "third strike" would permit county officials to declare the dog vicious.

"It's just irresponsible pet ownership," Quackenbush said. "Why would you allow an animal, especially if you have knowledge this is a potential risk to the community, to go outside? Has history taught us nothing?

"The incident in Cary is very fresh in a lot of our minds. It would be nice to have stronger laws. When you've got pet owners who don't follow the letter of the law, I would take any avenue I could get."

Her words are reassuring, Merideth said. She just hopes someone follows through before anyone else gets seriously hurt.

Officer down

McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Madey was just out for a ride on his motorcycle when his life changed forever. He suffered severe injuries and faces a long recovery. You can help his fellow officers help him -- and get a fine pasta dinner in the bargain.

Stop by Saturday's fundraiser spaghetti dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Woodstock VFW, 240 N. Throop St. Stay for the dancing until 11 p.m. It's $30 for adults, $15 for children 12 and younger. If you can't go but would like to help with his astronomical medical bills, send your donation to: Matt Madey Fundraiser, McHenry County Sheriff's Department, 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098.

Hay! Want a ride?

Ronda Feller of Sleepy Hollow asked me to tell you to save the date for community hayrides from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27 at the First Congregational Church of Dundee. It's on Route 31 at Tarn Angle Drive. "Come one, come all ages and enjoy hayrides, s'mores, pie and ice cream," Ronda said. Pie and ice cream? There goes that diet!

How fun is this?!

Elaine and Bruce Tietgen of West Dundee tell me of another event sure to lure anyone from a diet. Stop by the annual Country Craft Fair at St. Paul's United Church of Christ , 485 Woodstock St., in Crystal Lake from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. You'll find a farmers market and a giant pumpkin out front.

Inside, you'll find bakery goodies, homemade relish, red cabbage and jams in Grandma's cellar, crafts galore from more than 40 crafters, a silent auction and raffle. Best part might be the lunch menu, including roasted tomato soup with parmesan cheese wafers, Waldorf salad with chicken topped with sweet and spicy candied pecans, and smoked turkey sandwiches with cranberry mayo and baby greens on multi-grain bread. Dessert includes apple slices, pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting and carrot cake with pineapple, walnuts and cream cheese frosting. Oh my.