JOLIET – The dog owner responsible for a series of dog-on-dog attacks in the 500 block of North Reed Street was ordered by the city Thursday to take certain steps to ensure the safety of the neighborhood — or her two dogs will have to be euthanized.
“These are some very serious attacks,” Mary Kucharz, assistant corporate counsel for Joliet, told an administrative hearing officer during a hearing Thursday. “These are not playful scratches that occur when dogs are scuffing. These are not friendly dogs roughhousing. These are what we call attacks, unprovoked.”
Thursday's hearing outlined three separate incidents since September where 29-year-old Jaclyn Vavrik's Rottweiller and two pit bulls are accused of attacking other neighborhood dogs.
The latest alleged attack occurred Dec. 24, when an 8-year-old German shepherd/border collie mix was running on a line in her owner's backyard. The dog's chest was ripped open and she suffered a number of puncture wounds.
Two other attacks — one in September and another in November — happened as dog owners were walking their leashed dogs past Vavrik's residence. Police were already investigating the previous attacks when they learned of the Christmas Eve attack.
Vavrik said she gave Titan, her Rottweiller, to a friend, who "gave the dog to someone else" out-of-state. Vavrik wouldn't provide contact information. She said she "didn't know where to start."
“I don't know how to make that happen,” Vavrik said. “(He may be on the) outskirts of Indiana.”
Kucharz said she's “very concerned” that the Rottweiler's whereabouts are unknown.
“We don't know if this dog is really out of state or just two blocks away,” Kucharz said after the hearing. “We need to know where Titan is, because he's considered dangerous.”
Vavrik denied that her pit bull, Duchess, the second dog accused in the attacks, bit any dog.
"I swear on my children's lives that Duchess has never attacked. Barked, yes," Vavrik said. "She's never bitten another human or a dog in her entire life. The Rottweiler did all the damage."
On Thursday, the city deemed two of the three dogs accused in the attacks as “vicious,” triggering a seven-day deadline for Vavrik to comply with city ordinance. Otherwise, the dogs will be put to sleep because animal control will not hold them longer than a week.
At her own expense, Vavrik must pay for spaying/neutering, microchipping and liability insurance. She'll also have to tether and muzzle the animals and erect fencing later in the year. Once deemed vicious, the dogs cannot be sold or given away without approval from the city manager, Kucharz said.
A status hearing is set for Jan. 27, where Kucharz and the administrative hearing officer will go over medical expenses related to the three incidences.