Congressional candidate in dispute over dog bite

  • Bill Scheurer

    Bill Scheurer

Published: 6/17/2010 2:49 PM

Eighth Congressional District Green Party candidate Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst is trying to have a neighbor's dog declared dangerous after he claims it bit his dog May 22.

The neighbor, Patrick Hilliard, denies the accusation and is skeptical of the evidence Scheurer is citing. But Hilliard is complying with the ongoing investigation by Lake County Animal Control, including having his dog isolated for 10 days.

Lake County Health Department spokeswoman Leslie Piotrowski said officials are unable to comment on the case until the investigation is completed in two or three weeks.

The two neighbors, who live more than a block apart, are also disputing whether Hilliard is responsible for paying an approximately $200 vet bill for Scheurer's Lhasa Apso-Havanese mix.

Scheurer said he and his wife were walking their two small dogs past Hilliard's house when Hilliard's English Springer Spaniel came bounding out of the yard through a gap in the fence and bit the dog Scheurer was in charge of.

He said this was the fifth time Hilliard's dog had attacked either his family or its dogs. They've continued to walk past the house, though, because they said there's a lack of routes in their neighborhood and because they'd been assured the matter would be taken care of after the previous occasion.

Hilliard said he disputes every aspect of Scheurer's accusation.

"This is a false claim, an alleged dog-bite claim," Hilliard said. "They're totally manufacturing this."

He said when Scheurer confronted him with what was claimed to be his dog's injury, Hilliard saw what he described as an old wound that didn't look like it had been a dog bite in the first place.

Hilliard said he survived a childhood mauling by a dog and believes he can tell the difference between a dog bite and a different kind of wound.

Scheurer said he doesn't want the dog destroyed, but only put on the dangerous animal list. This creates a number of responsibilities for the owner, including muzzling the dog outside its property and taking extra measures against the dog's getting loose.

"We're dog lovers," Scheurer said. "We don't want to make life difficult for a dog. We just want the dog owner to take responsibility."

Hilliard, however, feels that it is his family who are the victims in this case - victims of harrassment as the Scheurers go door-to-door in the neighborhood with a petition for his dog to be declared dangerous.

Hilliard said neighbors who used to wave and say hello now back into their homes when they see him.

Scheurer is running against Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean of Barrington and Republican challenger Joe Walsh of McHenry in the November 2 election. The 8th District includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.