CHICAGO - A 62-year-old Chicago man was critically injured Monday morning when two 70-pound pit bull terriers mauled him while he was jogging along Lake Michigan, police said.
Police officers found the dogs a short distance away from the site of the attack and fatally shot the animals as they attempted to attack them, department spokesman Officer Robert Perez said. Neither officer was injured, he said.
Perez said the attack happened on a path in Rainbow Beach Park on the city's far South Side at about 6 a.m. He said the dogs, one chocolate brown and other white with spots, bit the man over his entire body, including his legs, arms and face.
One area resident said she and her husband ran outside, as another resident called 911 to help the man after hearing and seeing the attack from their window.
"He was yelling, `Somebody help me, please help me," said Debra Plummer. When Plummer's husband, Stanley Lee, ran to the scene and started beating the dogs with a large stick, the dogs would not let go of the man.
"One had the man by his arm and the other had him by his leg and they just had a lock on him (and) they wouldn't let him go," she said. "I couldn't believe what I was looking at."
Ultimately, she said, police pulled their guns and shot the dogs multiple times.
"They had to open fire," she said.
She said one indication of how powerful the dogs were was what happened after they were shot: One ran across a path before it fell and another ran in circles for what seemed like minutes before it, too, finally fell to the ground.
The man was rushed to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where a hospital spokeswoman said late Monday morning he remained in critical condition. Police have not released his name.
Perez said officers had not identified the owner or owners of the animals, saying that while the dogs both had collars, neither had tags. He said animal control officers were dispatched to the scene to take the carcasses away.
The dogs were large, heavily muscled male pit bulls. Neither had identification microchips embedded in them and neither had been neutered, according to Cheri Travis, executive director of the city's department of animal care and control. She said the dogs wore identical collars, suggesting they could be owned by the same person.
She said her employees were scouring records to see if there have been any complaints about dogs or reports of any strays in the area.
Perez said officers were canvassing the area in the search of the owners. And Travis said her office was assisting with the search. She said that the owner or owners may face criminal charges, explaining that while the fine for not keeping a dog in a fenced in area or allowing it to run outside without a leash is $300, the owner of an animal that causes serious injury to a person can be fined as much as $10,000 and locked up for as long as six months.
Travis also said part of her office's investigation will be to determine how the dogs were cared for, explaining that dogs do not typically attack people, and when they do it is often after they have been mistreated.
"Dogs don't just attack," she said.