Elgin will revisit call for ban on pit bulls

Published: 6/11/2009 12:02 AM

In 1996, Elgin City Councilman Robert Gilliam unsuccessfully tried to ban pit bulls within the city.

Wednesday night, after hearing emotional, graphic and heartbreaking stories from residents who were attacked themselves or had their own dogs mauled by pit bulls, Gilliam pledged to re-examine the topic this summer.

Residents Wednesday asked the council to revisit a pit bull ban, or to at least toughen penalties, restrictions and regulations for violent and aggressive dogs that attack people and other dogs.

A May 12 incident in which a Gretchen Ohl's Chihuahua was killed by two pit bulls on the near west side sparked the turnout, but it was clear that the problem had impacted many before last month.

"I'm mad. I've seen this town go to hell and I've been here 67 years," said Pat DeMoss, who was attacked in 1999 and nearly lost her leg. "If you stick your head in the sand on this it's going to come back to bite you - and that's no pun."

Jim Zingales, who has had a series of next door neighbors with pit bulls, said he lives in constant fear for himself and his dog.

"This is not the way to live," he said. "This is not about discrimination (against) a dog breed. "

Charlene Sligting, president of the Southwest Area Neighbors, described a Feb. 2 attack on a leashed dog near the Chicago Street train station.

At at meeting for the Near West Neighborhood Association last week, James Rog, the lone animal control officer for Elgin Police, urged homeowners to call the department's nonemergency number, (847) 289-2700, at the first sight of a dog on the loose.