Lake County Animal Care and Control officials shared details Wednesday on the dog believed to have killed its owner Saturday in Ingleside.
The dog that attacked Lisa Urso, 52, is a 55-pound French bulldog-bulldog mix named Blue, according to Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Hannah Goering. She said in early April Blue was first reported to Animal Control by Urso as a pure French bulldog but Animal Control officials later categorized the dog as a French bulldog-Bulldog mix.
Contrary to some media reports, Goering said there is no evidence that Blue was ever involved in dog fighting or other mistreatment.
"Typically dogs which have been trained to fight, whether as the aggressor or the victim, have visible scars or chewed-up ears," Goering said. "This was a very healthy-looking dog; there were no signs of scarring. There is no reason to believe that."
Goering said Blue, who has been showing signs of aggression while in animal control's custody, will likely be humanely euthanized. If a member of Urso's family expresses interest in adopting Blue, the matter could end up before a judge, and Goering said animal control officials would advocate against Blue's being adopted.
Goering said animal control officials avoid labeling one breed of dog as "safe" and another as "dangerous."
"People should think of this attack as a unique isolated incident," Goering said. "I think people want to have closure over something this tragic and shocking, but we're never necessarily going to know why this happened."
Officials believe the ultimately fatal attack on May 9 started when Blue bit Urso while she was alone at home. It appears Urso tried to flee through the back door. Her mutilated body was found on her back porch Saturday.
Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper's office performed an autopsy Tuesday and determined Urso had been killed in a dog attack.
Blue first came to the attention of Animal Care and Control on April 13 after the dog bit someone. Goering said because the bite happened inside Urso's home, Blue was not taken into animal control possession. Instead, Urso was instructed to keep Blue in the house and observe the dog for any signs he might have rabies. There was no evidence Blue has or had rabies.
On April 21, Blue bit again, so Animal Control and Care took the dog away from Urso, Goering said. During the period Blue was with Animal Control and Care, the dog did not exhibit signs of being aggressive, Goering said. Upon Urso's request, Blue was returned to her on April 30.
Goering said Blue and the other two dogs taken from Urso's home after the attack Saturday will be held at the animal control facility in Libertyville until May 18.
The other two dogs, a 1-year-old male French bulldog and a 15-year-old border collie-Australian cattle dog mix, will be offered to Urso's family. If no one takes the dogs, the animals will be sent to a shelter for adoption.