JOLIET – Pet owners say their animals were attacked after a neighbor allowed her dogs to run loose.
Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said three "dog-on-dog" attacks have been reported in the 500 block of North Reed Street since September – the most recent on Christmas Eve.
On that afternoon, Sarah Tyrrell heard commotion outside while Harley, her 8-year-old German shepherd/border collie mix, was running on a line in her backyard.
"I saw two dogs running away and Harley all bloody. I didn't see anybody outside with the dogs," Tyrrell said.
Harley had a large puncture on her shoulder and some of her chest was ripped open. Tyrrell called the police and then took Harley to a vet. The dog will recover, but is now scared when she goes outside, according to Tyrrell.
Tyrrell said the dogs that attacked Harley belong to Jaclyn Vavrik, who also resides in the same block. Benton said Vavrik, 29, did not answer the door for police that day or on subsequent visits in the last two weeks, until Friday.
Vavrik did not immediately return Wednesday a message seeking comment.
When Harley was attacked, police already were setting up a hearing to determine if Vavrik was violating city ordinance with three dogs – a rottweiler and two pit bulls. Helene Heldorfer, a resident of the 600 block of North Reed Street, said her 6-year-old Cairn terrier Buffy was attacked by the dogs while walking Sept. 22 past Vavrik's residence.
Buffy underwent surgery for 12 puncture wounds, but also survived.
"All three dogs came out, but only two attacked, with the rottweiler doing most of the damage," Heldorfer said. Heldorfer said Vavrik's boyfriend came out and pulled the dogs back into the house and she called police.
According to Heldorfer, Vavrik told the police she would pay for the veterinary bills, but has not done so.
"The dogs have been let out to run loose in the yard, which is not fenced," Benton said.
Benton said the third attack was in November and the dog survived; attempts to reach the owner of that dog were not immediately successful.
On Friday, a detective spoke with Vavrik, who said she was only aware of the attack on Buffy, but agreed to attend a hearing Jan. 15.
"She said the rottweiler had been given to an out-of-state relative, but would not provide any contact information," Benton said. "The officer asked her to to turn the pit bulls over to animal control until the hearing, but she refused to do so."