DeKALB – The 3-year-old pit bull that bit a Sycamore woman so severely she needed surgery has no documented history of aggressive behavior, DeKalb County Animal Control Warden Dan Berres said Wednesday.
The dog's owner, whose name authorities did not release, is cooperating with police and DeKalb County Animal Control. He contacted DeKalb police Sunday morning when he saw messages on Facebook about the May 17 incident Katz Park in DeKalb.
"He seems to be a responsible owner," Berres said.
The pit bull tested negative for rabies Tuesday after it received the required post-bite examination. Authorities have not yet determined if they will pursue criminal charges against the owner.
Angela Rojas, 30, was at the baseball diamond converted into a dog park May 17 with her boyfriend, Max Hoover, and their 1-year-old cattle dog mixed breed, Mona. As Rojas tried to separate Mona and another dog when their play got too rough, a pit bull came from behind and bit Rojas' left arm, Rojas said.
The owner left before police arrived because he did not think his dog was the one who bit Rojas, Berres said.
Animal control is still investigating to see whether the dog will be labeled as dangerous or vicious. A dangerous dog is one that acts in a manner that could create serious physical injury or death. That classification would require the dog to be microchipped and muzzled when out in public, Berres said.
A vicious dog declaration can be made if the dog attacks someone without provocation and causes serious physical injury or death. If officials categorize the dog as vicious, a court hearing would be scheduled in front of a judge, who would then determine whether the dog should be euthanized or spend the rest of its life in a secured enclosure, Berres said.
Animal control officials will consult with the DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office throughout the investigation. Berres also said the dog's owner plans to stay away from Katz Park.
"He's horrified," Berres said. "He feels bad."
Meanwhile, Hoover said Rojas is taking rabies shots because the dog owner did not come forward before Saturday.
The first rabies shot Rojas received was one injection in her left arm plus 16 immunoglobulin injections around the wound near the surface of the skin, Hoover said. Rojas will receive more rabies shots Saturday and June 7.
She returned to work Tuesday and worked a full day Wednesday, but Hoover said his girlfriend is still shaken by the bite incident.
"She's scared to go out with Mona around other dogs," Hoover said. "I can't blame her."