YORKVILLE – The Kendall County Board may empower the county Animal Control Department to issue citations to the owners of dogs and other animals for code violations.
The board is considering tougher enforcement in the wake of a particularly vicious dog attack that occurred in Yorkville earlier this year.
County Board members approved changes to the department’s standard operating procedures at a recent board meeting, setting the stage for further changes to allow animal control employees to write tickets for dangerous animals running loose or making attacks.
“We need to let them enforce” the rules, County Board Chairman Matt Kellogg told fellow board members.
Taylor Cosgrove, who was named director of the Animal Control Department in December, told the board that her department lacks the authority to issue tickets.
“We can’t write citations,” Cosgrove said, noting that municipal police departments have that enforcement power within city limits.
The new operating procedures approved by the board cover a wide range of the department’s activities, from what animals may be accepted at the county animal shelter to what circumstances would require an animal to be euthanized. Other changes included accounting and office procedures.
Before the board voted on the changes, they heard from a Yorkville resident who intervened when a neighbor and her dog were attacked by a cane corso, a large mastiff breed, on Feb. 12.
Amanda Buchanan of the Bristol Bay area described the harrowing experience faced by neighbor Amy Hunte, who along with her German shepherd, were attacked by the cane corso.
“I went outside to see what was happening and saw a young woman and a full-size German shepherd being attacked by a dog twice the German shepherd’s size,” Buchanan told the board.
Buchanan said she joined Hunte in trying to shield the German shepherd, the target of the attack.
“The dog attacking was relentless, barking ferociously, frothing at the mouth and lunging repeatedly to try to get past us,” Buchanan said. “He got in many brutal bites and it was clear that his intent was to kill.”
Hunte said later that she suffered several bites from the attacking dog.
“Amanda stood back to back with me,” Hunte said. “If it hadn’t been for her it would have been a lot worse.”
The two women appeared before a County Board committee in April, but said they left feeling that board members were not listening.
At the June 27 full board meeting, before the board approved the new procedures, Buchanan made her case again.
“It must be recognized that the Animal Control Department does not just shelter dogs and cats and check for rabies,” Buchanan said, “It’s also supposed to protect people from dangerous dogs.”
After the board’s action, Buchanan and Hunte said they believed that they finally have made some progress.
“I think this was the first time that we were really heard,” Hunte said.