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Joliet police: Pit bull euthanized after being shot by off-duty officer

Additional injuries sustained in dog attack

Published: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 10:46 p.m. CST • Updated: Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 8:31 p.m. CST

JOLIET – An off-duty police officer shot one of two pit bulls that attacked his dog and wife last week, according to Joliet police.

Joliet Deputy Chief Ed Gregory said officers were called at 7:55 a.m. Jan. 15 to the Timbers Edge subdivision when a man reported his neighbor had been bitten.

“When the responding officers arrived, they heard gunfire and had called other police to the scene when further shots were heard,” Gregory said.

Police then encountered a man walking with a handgun and ordered him to drop the weapon. After he complied with their commands, police learned the 59-year-old is employed as a Forest Preserve District of Will County police officer, Gregory said.

The off-duty officer said his wife had been walking their medium-size dog, Hannah, on Timber Edge Circle when they were set on by two pit bulls, Mocha and Nala, who came from a nearby yard, according to Gregory.

The woman called her husband, who arrived to find one pit bull had Hannah by the throat and the other had her by the hindquarters. The husband, wife and the pit bulls’ owner, Barbara Szczurowski, 60, struggled to separate the dogs, Gregory said.

“The wife was wearing gloves that one of the pit bulls tore through and bit her hard enough to break her wrist,” Gregory said. “We later found a 4-inch tooth on the street.”

As the respective owners tried to regain control of their dogs, the off-duty officer encountered Mocha and “shot the dog three or four times as it charged at him,” Gregory said. Mocha went back inside Szczurowski’s residence.

Meanwhile, the female victim found Hannah on her front porch, but was followed by Nala, who began to attack again. Gregory said another neighbor saw what was happening and struck the pit bull with a baseball bat.

Police found both pit bulls with Szczurowski, Gregory said. Mocha was taken to a veterinarian and euthanize because of the gunshot wounds.

Animal Control was notified but refused to take custody of Nala, according to Gregory. On Wednesday, the city attorney notified Szczurowski to take the pit bull to Animal Control to be held until it is determined whether she is a “vicious dog.”

Hannah was treated for about 50 puncture wounds, but was alive, according to police reports available Thursday. Her owner was treated for her broken wrist, and Szczurowski sustained lacerations separating the dogs, Gregory said.

Szczurowski was cited with keeping dangerous dogs and letting her dogs run loose.

“According to neighbors, the dogs are running loose regularly,” Gregory said.

According to Will County Court records, she was cited with possessing a dangerous animal in December 2013, but the case was dismissed two months later. In December 2014, Szczurowski was sued by the Timbers Edge residents association after the pit bulls bit another resident, according to court filings. That case still is pending.

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