Chicago man ticketed for loose dogs in Staples
Elmwood Park Police attempt to remove a dog from Staples, 1850 N Harlem Avenue on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Elmwood Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:32PM
ELMWOOD PARK — A Chicago man was ticketed last week for not securing two dogs that terrorized shoppers at an Elmwood Park retailer on July 24.
Two “vicious” dogs — an Akita and a Cane Corso, similar to a Napoleon mastiff — barred customers from leaving the Staples office supply store, 1850 N. Harlem Ave., at about 10:30 a.m. July 24.
The dogs were barking and snarling at customers and employees inside the store. Police and animal control used pepper spray to subdue the dogs and transported them to a local veterinarian.
Fine ranges from
$90 to $750
The owner, Jerry Stamps of the 2300 block of Newcastle Ave., was cited for having an unleashed dog. The fine ranges from $90 to $750, said Elmwood Park Police Chief Frank Fagiano. Stamps’ court date is Sept. 5.
Lawrence Fox, owner of Elmwood-Grove Animal Hospital in River Grove, said the dogs were probably just as afraid as the people in the store.
“They were in a strange environment where people weren’t looking to see a dog,” Fox said. “It was an unfortunate set of circumstances but everyone handled the situation responsibly.”
When the dogs arrived at his hospital, Fox said, the Akita was fine.
“The Akita, once it got in my office, it was very nice,” Fox said.
But the Cane Corso was a bit more to handle.
“That was the more aggressive of the two,” he said.
With the help of Oak Park’s animal control officer, who was called in to help secure the dogs, Fox said he was able to give the dog a sedative.
He described the Cane Corso as a breed with a negative stereotype. “It used to be the Doberman (Pinscher) breed, and now it’s the Pit Bull,” he said.
“It’s a little bit like racial profiling,” Fox said. “Both (breeds) are used as a working dog. They are used as a police dog or in the military. They are capable of being tough.”
The two dogs were returned to Stamps last week.
No one was hurt in the July 24 incident, but several people described the dogs as terrifying.
“They were big dogs, one of them looked like a German shepherd,” said Lucia Murillo, a representative with State Farm.
A nearby landscaper had tried to scare them away with a leaf blower, Murillo said.
“The dogs came from the back (behind the State Farm office), ran across the street (Harlem) and somehow made it to the store,” said Murillo, who watched them through her office’s picture window.
The dogs were running around the Staples parking lot and then chased a customer into the store, who told employees that “vicious dogs” were following him, witnesses said.
“They ran into the doors at Staples, which opened because they’re automatic doors,” Fagiano said.
Store employees jumped up on the counters and the dogs put their front paws on the counters, said witnesses watching from outside the store.
Pepper spray used to subdue animals
Once police secured the area, the officers used pepper spray to subdue the animals.
Oak Park’s animal control officer was already in the vicinity responding to Oak Park residents’ complaints about loose dogs near North and Harlem avenues.
Inside the store, the animal control officer used food to lure the less-aggressive dog toward him so he could slip on the control pole, which has a loop on the end of it.
“After he caught the first one, he used the same device on the other one,” said Oak Park’s spokesman Dave Powers said.
The dogs were placed into cages and removed from the store separately. They were taken to Elmwood-Grove Animal Hospital, where they were tranquilized, Powers said.
Customers were seen leaving the store covering their noses and mouths.
A few people got sick from the pepper spray and they were taken to the hospital, witnesses said.
“The fumes did affect some people, and we had the fire department on hand,” Fagiano said. “But there were no injuries.”
Officials from Staples were not available for comment.
Barb Barzozowski, an employee at CVS Pharmacy across the street, watched the dogs running wild.
“Thank god, they didn’t come into this store. I would have died,” she said