Jogger mauled by pit bulls along lake

January 3, 2012 5:46:14 AM PST
A 62-year-old man was in critical condition Monday after he was attacked by two pit bulls while jogging in a lakefront park on the South Side.

Police say the muscular dogs bit the man over his entire body, including his legs, arms and face. Even though the dogs were shot multiple times, neither one fell to the ground immediately. The owner of the dogs was being questioned by police Monday night and could face charges.

A pair of partially torn gym shoes remained Monday morning at the site where a man was mauled by a pair of pit bulls. It happened around 6 a.m. as the 62-year-old victim was jogging near the lakefront in Rainbow Beach Park.

Stanley Lee could hear the man screaming for help, so he threw on some clothes, grabbed a bat and ran outside.

"He's like, 'Somebody help me. Help me.' I'm swinging the bat, and I'm doing the best that I can to save the man's life," said Lee.

Lee said the dogs, two 70-pound pit bulls, would not back down and that they charged at police who quickly arrived at the scene.

Officers shot and killed both dogs. They were taken away by Animal Care and Control, whose focus now is to find the owner. Both dogs had collars but no tags or identifying microchips.

News of the attack was unsettling to people who say the park is a popular place in the neighborhood to go for exercise.

"When we come out at 5 o'clock, there's a guy always running, so it might be him," said neighborhood resident Ellen LaRue.

Residents say the park is also a draw for people who bring large, aggressive dogs that often run off leash.

And, on some occasions, residents say they have seen dogs being trained for dog fighting.

"This supposed to be an area where people can come back here and enjoy themselves, and it's scary, and it makes me sad that innocent people are getting hurt," said neighborhood resident Dinah Berry.

Investigators are searching the neighborhood to find out where the pit bulls came from, but some residents say they breed is prevalent in the area.

"The pits are sitting inside of the courtyard, not gated, not fenced, not leashed," said neighborhood resident Andrew Jones. "And when you walk by they yell at the dogs, 'Come back here,' and they think they have the dogs well trained, but you don't know 'cause it's an animal."

Seventh Ward Alderman Sandi Jackson encourages people in the neighborhood to be alert in the park and to contact her office about any aggressive dogs in the area.

Animal Care and Control says dog owners face fines if their dogs aren't fenced in or if they cause serious injury to another person.