Family: Neighbor's Pit Bull kills puppy, bites two people

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

ELDORADO, Ill. - A local mother said she and her children are prisoners in their own home, afraid to go outside because of a neighbor's dangerous dog.

Shawnna Mitchell said the pit bull housed two doors down picked up, shook, and killed the family's Shih Tzu puppy, Charles, last Thursday.

She said the dog then bit her 13-year-old and a woman who tried to stop the attack.

Saline County Animal Control picked up the Pit Bull named Memphis, and they're holding it for ten business days. The dog's owner got a ticket for having his animal "running at large."

Mitchell said she doesn't want the dog anywhere near her home and her neighbors don't either. She claimed city officials seemed unaware of their own ordinances at a meeting Tuesday night.

"This has been devastating for us," said Mitchell.

The memorial site, sympathy cards, and flowers are all signs of a tough week for Shawnna Mitchell and her three kids.

"Every time I step outside, I think about everything that I (saw)," said Jonathon Mitchell.

The 13-year-old took the family's puppy out last Thursday night. That's when the family said a neighbor's pit bull burrowed under the fence and came for their dog.

Jonathon Mitchell was bitten too, and his mom is frustrated.

"Nobody has answers here, and I want answers," she said.

The city's animal control officer told Local 6 on Wednesday the dog can't come back unless it's housed outside, in a confinement structure with a concrete bottom, secure sides, and a secure top.

As far as the wording of the city of Eldorado's ordinance goes, the dog is considered vicious. But that's not true with respect to the state.

"We're going to try and collect information and see if there's enough evidence to take to the state's attorney," said Dr. Clifford Morris, Saline County Animal Control Administrator.

Morris said the Eldorado mayor contacted him to start an investigation on the dog. The matter could go to the state's attorney. In Illinois, only a judge can rule whether a dog is vicious and can be put down.

"We do not want this dog back," said Mitchell.

Shawnna Mitchell said there's more at stake than just her family. She lives across the street from a school and doesn't want anyone else to be a victim.

Local 6 spoke with the dog's owner by phone Wednesday afternoon. He told us he plans to get the dog back and will keep it inside the house.

He said he could have it muzzled and on a leash, but city ordinances state that's only allowed to obtain veterinary care for the animal.

He has another dog that was not involved in the attack.

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