The law in Hickory Hills is that dog owners need to keep their dogs leashed.
But resident Beth Medeiros is claiming that law isn’t being enforced and brought her complaints to the Hickory Hills City Council last Thursday, two weeks after she said he had a frightening experience with a large dog that bit her right hand.
“There are too many loose dogs roaming the neighborhood,” said Medeiros of 9100 block of South 88th Avenue. “I walk my dog frequently, and on more than one occasion, we were confronted by what I would consider to be a either a stray or loose dog.”
Medeiros said she was attacked by a neighborhood dog two weeks prior to the meeting and said after police did not issue a citation was issued to the attacking dog’s owner.
“I have a 22-pound little dog and I was walking my dog past a home nearby my house when a large dog charged out at me from a house without a fenced-in yard,” she said. “I then went to pick up my dog because it is so little, I didn’t want to see it get hurt, and that is when the larger dog bit me on my right hand.”
Medeiros added that one of the dog’s owners, a young girl, was calling for the larger dog to return to the yard but the dog failed to respond to the child, and continued charging forcefully at Medeiros and her dog.
Medeiros said she instructed the child to go inside and have her parents call the police to report the attack. The police spoke with Medeiros and an adult owner of the dog and left after giving the owner a verbal warning, Medeiros said.
“The dog’s owner did take responsibility for the attack, knowing that he did not have a fenced-in yard and was not outside properly watching the dog,” Medeiros said and added that a citation should have been issued at the time of the attack instead of a verbal warning.
Police Chief Alan Vodicka said he will look into why no further action was taken.
This is not the first time Medeiros said she has come across problems with unleashed dogs in her neighborhood. She said other residents have similar complaints. Unleashed dogs have been reported on Maple Lane and Forest Lane, and 88th Avenue.
Medeiros also told the council that some residents ride their bikes with their dogs walking alongside without a leash. The dog may appear to be well-behaved but if natural instinct strikes or an unfamiliar person or animal appears, the dog may attack, she said.
“It is simply neglectful owners,” Medeiros said, “Dogs need to be behind fenced-in yards or on leashes while walking with their owners. I worry about when school gets out for the summer and more kids will be walking their dogs. What if a child is walking a dog and an unleashed dog approaches them with a similar situation as to what happened with me?”
Hickory Hills said goodbye to their deputy director of public works this month. After 39 years of service, Regan Rice officially retired.
Rice retired on March 15, leaving the city council and public works department with nothing but kind words to say about him.
“We are losing a very valuable employee and he will be missed,” Larry Boettcher, director of public works said.
Rice began his career with the public works department in 1974, while still attending Stagg High School. He would come in before and after school as a part-time employee. After graduating from high school, he joined the public works department fulltime and rose quickly through the ranks to become a heavy equipment operator and a certified water operator before advancing to become the assistant public works director.
“It was with Rice’s inspiration that public works initiated the public works department to actually do the water-based repairs themselves, rather than taking the repairs out to a private contractor,” Boettcher said and added that throughout the years, Rice’s inspiration has saved the city a great deal of money by completing water repairs this way.
Rice was also responsible for the 1,200 feet of the 98th St. line replacement. “It would have cost us a couple hundred thousand dollars if we would have brought a contractor in here to do that instead,” Boettcher said. “He will be sorely missed because he really knows the background of both the department and our town. We are very glad to call him a co-worker and friend. We are going to really miss him.”