Two Rottweilers that were attacking a jogger in St. Charles are dead after the dogs’ owner and a man who intervened tried unsuccessfully to pull the animals off the woman until the man, who has a concealed carry license, fatally shot one of the dogs, according to the Kane County sheriff’s office.
The homeowner voluntarily had the second Rottweiler euthanized the day after the attack earlier this week, according to Ron Hain, the Kane County sheriff.
“It was a proactive stance by the dog owner, and I would say any responsible dog owner would do the same. I have four dogs and I think if any of them bit somebody we know that it would be the end of days for that dog,” Hain said Thursday.
Hain said deputies were called to the 7N300 block of Windsor Drive about 9:15 a.m. Monday after getting a call that a 51-year-old woman had been jogging in the area when the two Rottweilers inexplicably began “using the woman like a chew toy,” Hain said.
“One had her by the leg and the other had her by the scalp,” he said. “Doctors had to use 6 feet worth of sutures to repair her body.”
The horrific attack began innocently enough, according to Hain. A Labradoodle made it past an electric fence and ran from its yard to where the woman was jogging “to greet her in the street,” officials said. The jogger and the homeowner were acquaintances and friendly with one another, so the woman stopped running, grabbed the Labradoodle by its collar and helped it back to its owner, who had been standing in her driveway watching the exchange.
That’s when the two Rottweilers came bounding out of that home and started to attack the jogger, Hain said.
“Something about the woman holding the dog by its collar and coming up their driveway was seen as some kind of aggression against the Labradoodle, and the two Rottweilers were acting protectively, we think,” he said.
The homeowner was trying to pull the dogs off the jogger when a man who has a license to carry a concealed weapon drove by, saw the commotion and got out of his vehicle to try to help pull the dogs off the jogger.
But the man didn’t have a gun with him, Hain said.
“So he called his father, who was maybe a block away, and asked him to get his gun and bring it to him, which he did. I believe he put it in his car and the man retrieved it,” Hain said.
All the while, the dogs continued to attack the woman.
“It went on for minutes, we don’t have an exact time frame. Once he had the weapon he shot the dog basically at point-blank range. He had to take appropriate action to save her life …,” Hain said. “And I believe he did.”
Asked whether the woman was ever in any danger of being shot, Hain said the jogger was in a far more dangerous position without the man’s help.
“That’s why he came back to point-blank range and why he fired through the side of the dog. If he had tried to shoot from a distance or into the dog’s head, that would’ve struck the woman, so he was very tactical about the way that he deployed his weapon,” Hain said.
The noise from the single gunshot caused both dogs to retreat and the dog who was shot died “a short time later,” according to Hain.
The 51-year-old was taken to Delnor Hospital and later flown by air ambulance to the trauma center at Good Samaritan Hospital. There she underwent emergency surgery and her condition has since been stabilized and her injuries are not considered to be life-threatening, according to Hain.
The homeowner — the woman who owned the three dogs — also was taken to Delnor Hospital for treatment of injuries suffered while trying to stop the Rottweilers from attacking, authorities said.
David Lombardo, an avid animal lover and the founder of Waterman-based Safer USA, a concealed carry instruction school, said the concealed carry holder was well within his rights to take action because a person can use lethal force if their life is in danger or the life of someone else is being threatened.
“A dog, particularly a large dog, is perfectly capable of killing a human being,” Lombardo said. “If there’s anybody to blame, I suppose it’s the dog owner who should’ve had better control of her dogs, but this is an unfortunate situation all the way around.”
Lombardo said there may be speculation about the type of breed — whether it is more aggressive than others — but, as with gun ownership and the need for training to become a responsible gun owner, the bottom line is training.
“Obviously they weren’t attack dogs, because if they were, she would’ve had a word to call them off,” Lombardo said.
He and Hain agreed the gun owner not only followed the letter of the law but that he heroically came to the aid of a person who was unable to defend herself. And while the Kane County sheriff’s office continues to investigate, Hain said his office will not recommend charges against the man with the concealed carry license.
“It’s a cut-and-dry case of self-defense; it’s just not the scenario people usually think of when getting a gun for protection. But as sad as it is to have to kill a dog, when the choice is between a human life and a dog’s life, the human wins,” Lombardo said. “He probably saved her life.”
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