22 Aug 2014
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'Home Alone Dogs' Removed from House; One Dies

Thirty-year-old Oak Lawn man charged with felony animal control cruelty after neighbors complain of hearing dogs fighting in captivity, police say.

'Home Alone Dogs' Removed from House; One Dies

Police found four emaciated dogs home alone, one of them gravely injured after being attacked by the other dogs, on the 10000 block of South 52nd Avenue.

The four dogs–named Tyson, Hercules, Ozzy and Mickey–were found locked in a small room without food or water. Police said the dogs were in an extremely emaciated condition.

The dogs’ owner, Michael E. Peterson, 30, was charged with felony animal cruelty, and was issued village citations for not having dog tags, noisy animals and exceeding the maximum number of dogs allowed in a house.

According to reports, police went to the home on May 8, after neighbors complained of several dogs locked up in a back room. Neighbors told police the dogs had been barking and fighting for several hours and that it was an ongoing problem.

Police saw what appeared to be four dogs through an open window locked in a small room. Three of the dogs were fighting with each other, and two appeared to be dragging a smaller, skinnier dog around the room, reports said.

The smaller dog was in poor health and appeared to have been bitten on the neck and face several times. Police said the smaller dog was lying on the floor and appeared dead.

When police were unable to scare the larger dogs away from the injured dog, they called Oak Lawn Animal Control. Police were also able to contact Peterson, who told them he was on his way home, reports said.

Peterson’s brother soon arrived on the scene, and he told police he lived in the house as well. According to police, the brother said the dogs belonged to Peterson.

The brother went into the house and leashed the dogs and brought them outside with the help of Animal Control.

Animal Control removed the smaller dog, which later died, from the house on a stretcher.

Police said they could not find any food or water in the room where the dogs were being kept, and the room reeked of feces and urine.

Peterson could not provide tags or village licenses for the dogs, and he told police he didn’t know he needed them. Police also told Peterson he was in violation of the village ordinance that allows only three dogs to a home, reports said.

The dogs were taken to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, where they were examined by a veterinarian. 

Peterson was charged with felony animal cruelty after a vet report, which stated that the dead dog had multiple bite wounds on its legs and cuts on its neck and head consistent with a dog attack.

The vet’s report also said the dead dog’s emaciated condition suggested starvation and described the other dogs in a “gaunt” condition. The larger dog also had a mouth abnormality.

The dogs removed from the home included three Staffordshire mixes and a collie mix. The report did not specify which of the four dogs had died.

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