Waukegan teenager hurt in pit bull attack

September 12, 2008 4:16:01 PM PDT
Three pit bulls attacked a woman in a neighborhood in north suburban Waukegan. A 19-year-old woman is hospitalized with serious injuries after undergoing emergency surgery for her wounds.

The woman was in stable condition Friday night.

This happened Thursday when the pit bulls broke away from their leashes as the victim and a friend walked down the street.

According to the young woman's family and neighbors, the dogs had a history of either attacking or chasing others in the neighborhood. They say the owner had at least one of the dogs taken away previously but then got it back. Police could not confirm that but say they are still investigating. And it does seem likely the owner will be in some way held responsible for the attack.

"If that would have been a little kid, it would have killed her," said neighbor Richard Burns.

And if it weren't for Burns, 19-year-old Kiara Lynn may have been killed by three pit bulls that broke away from their leashes Thursday as she walked past their owner's home, just a few houses down from her own.

"There was three pit bulls on a little leash that you basically keep a poodle on," said DeShondra Rice, victim's cousin. "And they broke loose. And when they broke loose, they came and attacked her. And they viciously attacked her."

"They just were coming one after the other, taking bites out of her," Burns said. "the just tore her ear off, tore the back of her head, the top of her head, both her arms, both legs."

Burns used a dog cleanup scooper to scare the pit bulls away. They were not heeding their owner's attempts to pull them off Lynn.

"He was reaching for the dogs, and he grabbed one. And the other one went by him, and then he let that one go. And it'd go back and bite her again," Burns said. "So they just kept on, one after another."

Once the attack was over, Burns said, the owner pled for his dogs' lives. Animal Control authorities took the pit bulls away, and their owner may yet be charged with reckless endangerment or reckless behavior.

"From my observation when I saw the collars, I don't think were adequate," said Deputy Chief Daniel Greathouse, Waukegan Police Department. "So they broke away from the collars, or something that the cable or chain that he used to secure them."

Unlike other nearby towns, Waukegan does not have any ordinances specific to pit bull ownership. Residents along the street say they will be at the city council meeting Monday to demand something be done.

Lynn's family says criminal charges or not, they will seek some sort of punishment against the owner.

"She's in a lot of pain. She's going to have years of skin (g)rafting to do," Rice said. "It's going to take a long time for her to get over this."


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