Elgin police shoot, kill attacking pit bull

Published: 7/19/2010 5:48 PM | Updated: 7/19/2010 5:48 PM

A veteran Elgin police officer over the weekend shot and killed a pit bull that police say jumped at him with its mouth wide open.

Meanwhile, the dog's owner, Faustino Gonzalez, 53, of the 500 block of Walnut Street, has been arrested on an obstructing justice charge for ignoring countless police commands to restrain his dog named Snoopy, Lt. Glenn Theriault said.

Gonzalez has also been cited under a series of new local laws meant to crack down on people who don't control their dogs.

At 6:39 p.m. Saturday, police were called to Gonzalez's home in the 500 block of Walnut Street on a report of a loose pit bull.

Officers arrived and Gonzalez, seated in a chair in front of his garage with several beers, got up and put Snoopy in a fenced area.

That should have been the end of it.

But 58 minutes later, police were again dispatched to Gonzalez's house for the same reason.

According to Theriault:

Officers arrived and said Snoopy was running loosed outside the house.

As two officers got out of the squad car, he ran at both officers and they got back into their squad until he ran to the driveway. Officers told Gonzalez 15 times to secure his dog, and each time he refused. He finally asked police to back away while he grabbed Snoopy by the collar and led him to a cage. But instead of putting the dog in the cage, Gonzalez slammed the door shut and released the dog at the officers.

Snoopy leapt at Officer Michael Sullivan, a 10-year-veteran, and he shot Snoopy midair three times. The dog ran to the backyard, where he was shot one final time because he was still "alive and aggressive," Theriault said.

Snoopy's body was later taken to Dundee Animal Hospital Dog because he was not wearing rabies tags.

Gonzalez was cited for having a dog at large, for providing no proof of its rabies inoculation, for not putting tags on Snoopy and for the dog exhibiting aggressive behavior.

Gonzalez will face the dog citations Aug. 24 at the Elgin Branch Court. He is due in court Aug. 6 in Elgin on the obstruction charge and is now being held on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement warrant as a previously deported felon, Theriault said.

The department is running an internal review of the shooting to determine whether it was justified. "Any time a weapon is discharged, the case is reviewed," Theriault said.

Saturday's incident marked the third police pit bull shooting of 2010.