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Local News

Prosecutors drop charges in Joliet animal cruelty case

Marijke Fuqua, 41, of Joliet
Marijke Fuqua, 41, of Joliet

Prosecutors dropped charges of animal cruelty and violation of animal owner duties against a Joliet woman after she agreed to give up ownership of her pit bull terrier, court records show.

Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Kevin Kocim made a motion to drop the misdemeanor charges against 41-year-old Marijke Fuqua on May 22, according to court records. Judge Ken Zelazo granted the motion.

Zelazo signed an order that said Fuqua relinquished all ownership rights to her tan male pit bull terrier Cyrus, who is currently in the possession of Joliet Township Animal Control.

“The parties have come to this agreement based on the necessity of maintaining the health of the canine,” Zelazo’s order said.

Court records show Fuqua signed an owner relinquishment form May 20 that indicated Cyrus is house trained and good with children and other animals.

Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney said the agreement was in the best interest of Cyrus.

“This will allow the dog, who is in poor condition, to receive the treatment it needs and be adopted,” Cheney said.

On Feb. 6, a Joliet police officer was contacted by Joliet Township Animal Control for a report of a dog left outside in freezing temperatures in the 700 block of Grant Avenue, according to a petition seeking forfeiture of the dog by Will County Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Brown.

The officer saw Cryus sitting outside while tethered with a heavy metal chain, the petition said. The officer tried to contact Cyrus' owners without success and waited about 20 minutes before he took temporary custody of the pit bull to save his life, the petition said.

Fuqua was arrested by Joliet police Feb. 22 on charges alleging she left a malnourished Cyrus outside in the freezing cold and caused him to suffer hypothermia.

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