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Local News

Will County lawsuits seek justice over alleged dog attacks

JOLIET – Two Will County residents are suing the owners of dogs who either attacked them or their children in separate incidents this year.

Mark Scanland of Joliet is suing an owner of an American bulldog in Joliet that allegedly attacked his son last year. Alicia Fort of Crest Hill is suing the owner of two pit bulls after she was allegedly attacked two years ago. The lawsuits seek damages of more than $50,000.

Fort alleges in her case that on Aug. 14, 2016, she was attacked by two pit bulls belonging to Howard Snapp of Joliet. The dogs were allegedly “dangerous” and had a tendency to “snap and bite individuals,” the lawsuit stated.

The attack left Fort with physical and mental pain, medical expenses and permanent disfigurement. The lawsuit argues Snapp should have been aware of the danger his dogs allegedly posed.

Attempts to reach Snapp were unsuccessful Friday.

A Joliet police officer responded to Fort’s alleged attack in the 1500 block of Cumberland Drive and reportedly found her “covered in blood, laying on the ground in the backyard with one dog biting her head and the other clamping down on her legs,” Joliet Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said.

Gregory said the officer shot the dog that was biting her legs in the side by its hindquarters. Both animals took off running. The dog that was shot died a short time later.

Fort was taken to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center with injuries to her head, face, arms and legs.

Fort’s attorney, Susan Fransen, said Friday that Fort was “almost mauled to death” and the police officer saved her life. She said Fort did nothing to deserve the attack.

“It was an absolutely horrible incident,” Fransen said.

In Scanland’s case, his son was allegedly attacked by an American bulldog on Jan. 20, 2017. The attack occurred while he was either at or near the residence of the dog’s owner, Joseph Perez of Joliet, according to the lawsuit.

Attempts to reach Perez on Friday were unsuccessful.

Scanland’s attorney, Haig Himidian, said Scanland’s son suffered a large puncture wound on his inner thigh.

Himidian said the attack caused "serious injuries," including scarring, numbness and mobility issues.

Scanland's son also required physical therapy and suffered mental trauma, he said.

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