Friday, October 29, 2004

Illinois: Kindergartner Anthony Duffy Jr. attacked by pit bull

ILLINOIS -- A Roselle kindergartner who was attacked by a pit bull mix was resting at home Wednesday after undergoing plastic surgery to repair wounds in the back of his head, his father said.

Anthony Duffy Jr. was getting off the school bus in front of his home in the 700 block of Autumn Drive about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday when the dog, which was twice his size, knocked him to the ground, said his father, Anthony.

The dog bit the boy in the head, leaving 4-inch and 6-inch wounds, before a contractor working on a nearby home rushed over and helped the boy's mother pull the dog away, Duffy said.

"He ran across shouting and basically got the dog off him for enough time that my wife could get him in the house," Duffy said. "It was pretty traumatic."

Anthony Jr. underwent surgery in Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village Tuesday night and was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon, his father said.

"He's gonna be OK," Duffy said. "We're just really thankful that it wasn't worse."

The dog also bit the hand of a 56-year-old woman who was walking in the neighborhood, police said. The woman was treated and released from the same hospital.

The dog's owner, Jason Devincent, who lives on the same block, was cited for having a dog at-large and not licensing the dog. Devincent told police he had not realized his dog had escaped from a fenced yard.

The dog was turned over to DuPage County Animal Care & Control and euthanized Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Anthony Jr. is the youngest of five children, and the family does not have any pets, Duffy said.

"We were talking about maybe getting a puppy for his birthday, but I think we're going to put that on the back burner," he said.

(Chicago Tribune - October 28, 2004)

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Illinois: Cat hoarder Lynda Smith, 63, appealing her animal cruelty conviction

ILLINOIS -- Aurora resident Lynda Smith, convicted in July of keeping 26 sick and malnourished cats and one dog, is seeking a new trial contending she didn't understand the documents she signed before a Kane County judge found her guilty of animal cruelty.

Smith, 63, also said she did not get to present evidence in her defense and had ineffective counsel. She is accused of keeping the animals at her home and her brother's, both on Aurora's east side. Aurora Animal Control reported removing most of the animals from Smith's brother's home over a year ago.

Her brother has not been charged. Smith said Friday she wants her day in court.

"I have never been cruel to an animal," she said. "If it's smaller than me or handicapped, or older or can't fight back, I'm not going to take advantage or hurt or maim it. That's not me."

Smith, who has Parkinson's disease and asthma, said she signed the papers because she feared going to prison. She was convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty and failure of owner's duties. Judge William Brady sentenced her to 24 months' probation. She agreed to inspections of her home in the 800 block of George Avenue and was barred from keeping animals.

The city has started foreclosure proceedings. Smith owes nearly $10,000 in property code violation fines.

(Chicago Tribune - Oct 23, 2004)