A Tinley Park pit bull has been legally declared "vicious" under a settlement agreement approved by a Cook County judge that will spare the dog's life while adding restrictions on its movement.
Judge Mary Mikva approved the settlement Monday morning, which was negotiated between the dog's owners and Cook County officials after a Feb. 21 incident in which the dog attacked two vet techs at a Tinley Park clinic
The Cook County state's attorney filed a "vicious dog" complaint with the circuit court in March, weeks after the pit bull, named Buddy, attacked two veterinarians in what Cook County animal control officials described as "a bloodbath." One employee was bitten in the face and another employee was bitten on both arms.
Under the law, Cook County officials retain the right to request a court hearing to determine whether a dog might be legally declared vicious.
A dog can also be declared dangerous by animal control without a court hearing but vicious dog cases carry a higher penalty, including possible euthanasia.
State's attorney spokeswoman Sally Daly said vicious dog hearings are extremely rare, with only three since 2007.
The dog in this case was discovered by Joliet Township officials in January, apparently abandoned. The township sent Buddy to Chicago-based Furever Rescue to adopt out. Furever Rescue placed the animal with Tinley Park residents Anthony Concialdi and Stephanie Hanson, who have expressed their interest in adopting the animal.
Hanson took the dog to the veterinary clinic of Tinley Park to have soutures removed Feb. 21, which is when the dog attacked the vet techs.
Under the agreement, Buddy will be allowed to return home with several restrictions. His owners must build an outdoor enclosure with a roof and floor in their yard.
The dog must be leashed and muzzled while transported from the home to backyard, and the dog must be muzzled and on a leash no more than 4 feet long if it is taken in public or outside the home, per the agreement.
He must also be muzzled inside of the home if anyone other than the residents are present.
Cook County spokesman Frank Shuftan hailed the agreement.
"It is the result of months of negotiations between the parties and avoids euthanasia of the animal," Shuftan said. "It mandates numerous safety measures and is designed to protect the health and welfare of the public."
Cynthia Cecott, owner of the Veterinary Clinic of Tinley Park where Buddy attacked, said she was not notified of the settlement hearing in advance and was surprised that the county is releasing the dog.
"At least they're getting some restrictions on there," Cecott said.
Mark McGuire, an attorney representing Buddy's family, said the family is satisfied with the outcome of the case. From the beginning, he said, they wanted to reach an amicable resolution.
McGuire said his clients consider Buddy "a good dog" and were willing to do "anything and everything" to save its life.
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