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Pit Bull Measure Passes Elgin City Council

25 February 2010 RS 31 Comments

The vote was 4-3, with Councilmen Dunne, Steffen and Kaptain voting against it. The measure requires among other things that dangerous dogs be muzzled and leashed in public, that they can only be taken out on walks by persons over the age of 18, that if kept unleashed in a yard, the fence must be six feet tall, and that the animals must be neutered/spayed and microchipped. Pit bulls are classified as dangerous dogs, and their owners must register and license the animal at a cost of $100 for three years.

According to an FAQ they handed out, it is also under this amended ordinance unlawlful to keep any farm animal, including chickens. Why they worked this in there at this time is perplexing. As we’ve mentioned before on this blog in a post on urban homesteading, many people in this country, some even in big cities like Chicago, are keeping chickens as pets, for 4-H activities and for fresh eggs. It’s a good trend, and there is absolutely no reason to make it unlawful for somebody to keep a few backyard hens. Also keep in mind that several years ago, pot belly pigs were popular pets and recently it seems pygmy goats have found favor as pets. So I think the council should reconsider this blanket ban on farm animals.

There were several people who spoke during the allotted 30 minutes, all but one of them spoke against the amended ordinance. Chuck Keysor of the Near West Neighbors Association spoke in favor of it. Also present were board members of the College Green Homeowners Association, who were the sole members of the audience who applauded when the measure passed. They have had to deal with recent pit bull attacks in which the owner denied ownership of the attacking pit bull. When Councilman John Prigge mentioned this point as one of the difficulties of going after an owner after an attack, much of the audience which was filled with opponents of breed-specific legislation seemed to scoff at the idea. But the College Green incident shows that it is a quite likely possibility that an owner will deny ownership of a vicious dog when confronted by law enforcement.

John Prigge spoke at length in favor of the amended ordinance. Councilmen Kaptain, Dunne and Steffen expressed some reservations, and since they were not able to table it, voted against it.

Later in the meeting, the retirement of City of Elgin CFO Jim Nowicki was announced.

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31 Responses to “Pit Bull Measure Passes Elgin City Council”

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  1. Gibster says:

    RS: I appreciate the wonderful pictures you took, you capture the moments very well. Thanks you.

    • linda wyka says:

      This is nuts they should not be picking on the Breed specific if you look further u will see where problem is its the owner. This is not helping these innocent dogs who we heard before didn’t ask to be born that breed and now get deemed DANGEROUS.

      As rescue person who has a Rescue this saddens me as I told the Herald reporter so many animals will be given up because of breed and innocent animals will die. Shelters and rescues are so full its sad.

  2. Dogjudge says:

    Well, the local dog related businesses in Elgin have been contacting the council due to their potential loss of business. This is NOT from just pit bull owners.

    CBS, Steve Dale and others have run segments opposing this ordinance

    The businesses of the “Elgin four”, and the re-election of the “Elgin four” are all being targeted.

    They may pass this ordinance, but they better be prepared for it being one of the LAST ordinances that they pass.

    What has been especially galling in all of this is the fact that the ordinance requires that “dangerous dogs” MUST be certified as safe by behaviorists, etc., but the council REFUSED to hear the testimony of any of these experts in the field.

  3. maura wood maschinski says:


    check it out!! we made the tribune!!

    keep writing your councilmen, especially mike warren. he may be our best hope

  4. Michelle C says:


    I tried to post that on the other blog but it’s not showing up yet.


    Katherine, Maura, others- if you want to discuss anything regarding Saturday in another (private) forum:


    (must be logged in)


  5. Michelle C says:

    Link won’t display right, you can also search the word “oppose” on fbook & it will come up.

    • Gibster says:

      Got it, thanks Michelle - just add me pretty pleasie… lots to help with in 7 short days!

  6. Dogjudge says:


    Elgin mayor has come out with Elgin’s new softened stance.

    Essentially the changes are cosmetic.

    Any bully breed is automatically considered a dangerous dog and subject to all of the dangerous dog restrictions, including insurance.

    Try going to your insurance carrier and telling them that you need increased coverage because Elgin has decreed your dog as dangerous even though the dog hasn’t done anything. No increase in your insurance? Surely Elgin officials jest.

    The only thing positive is that they are no longer CREATING dangerous dogs by requiring that the dogs be tied up in a fenced in backyard. Has ANYONE involved in this ever heard of territorial aggression? Oh. That’s right. They didn’t want to hear from anyone who actually KNEW anything about dogs and why the bite.

  7. maura wood maschinski says:

    Mr. Mayor and Councilmen,

    Your constituents, the citizens of our city, the responsible pit bull owners, are incredulous. To think that we, as an educated, hard-working, rule-following group, is going to fall for your ’softening’ of the dangerous dog portion of the animal Control Ordinance. When, at any time, did you hear any one of us says we wanted to pay less in licensing fees? We didn’t. We said all dogs should be licensed. When did we say we’d compromise on three foot fences but still muzzle our dogs? We didn’t. We said, fences are an impossibility in many neighborhoods in Elgin, and those dog owners should not be expected to rid themselves of their pets to comply. I would hardly call ‘running free in the backyard’ if the dog is required to be muzzled.

    Across the city, as a whole, we pit bull owners applaud the writing of the dangerous dog portion of the ordinance. We couldn’t agree more. This is long, long overdue. But to restrict a breed of dog, in it’s entirety, is wrong. Wrong and simply, unfair.

    Att’y Cogley has already acknowledged that litigation will be eminent and costly. This is unacceptable during a period when, fiscally, Elgin is suffering. Hiring freezes for police officers and dispatchers, lay-offs of community service officers, community restitution employees and code enforcement officers.

    Gentleman, don’t lower the fee for licensing dogs. Require all dogs to be licensed. Eliminate the breed specific portions of the ordinance. This is a win-win situation. Elgin gains revenue it sorely needs an no one can complain! Everyone is treated fairly and litigation is a non-issue.

    We ask you, as our elected leaders, to do the right thing. Not take the easy way out.


    Maura Wood Maschinski
    416 Fulton Street
    Elgin, IL 60120

    • Gibster says:

      Maura, thank you for posting such a well written letter. I hope enough people like you have written in a sensible way by now to help STRIP all reference to Pitbull from the proposed ordinance. We NEED the updated Animal Control rules, not the legislation that goes along with including BSL.

  8. Carrie says:

    The picture of Gilliam infuriates me. I’m a citizen of this City - look interested in what your constitutes are trying to express to you! The arrogance is unbelievable. It is time for changes at City Hall.

  9. margfederer says:

    Barking up the wrong tree…

    No dog should have to be muzzled to be walked by an owner who keeps their pet on a 6 foot leash. A muzzled dog is not in any way able to protect it’s owner, nor able to defend itself against attack by another beast, such as a rabid squirrel or racoon.
    We have all heard stories of dog-napping cases as well. A muzzled dog would not be too difficult to take from it’s owner/trainer.
    Just some thought for the “pits of a situation” in Elgin.

  10. No BSL/No budget! says:

    “…he (Warren) will be fine as long as he thinks independently of the mayor.

    Impossible. Warren was created from the hands of Schock. He has no guts, no soul. “Buckets of money”? “Do more with less”? Those are puppet words.
    Will Mike Warren step up and be his own man, or will he follow Schock again on another council agenda? How much money will this cost us and the city? Warren has followed suit now for one year without much gusto, just going with the normal flow. Will he do it again?

  11. Dogjudge says:


    Mr. Prigge posted on his blog a sentence from our email correspondence concerning meeting with him.

    He took one sentence out of the email where I essentially said that having reviewed his record for years, I found that meeting with him would be futile. His response? Well, I’ve only been in office for 10 months. Notice how he cowardly didn’t address the issue.

    The MAIN point of the email was that Prigge, and the other three, REFUSE to publicly discuss the SCIENCE of WHY dogs bite with any experts. They simply want to talk to Elgin residents.

    Thank God Elgin is not considering erecting a nuclear reactor and would only be willing to discuss the dangers by only talking with residents.

    One last remark. All over Prigge’s emails to me, there are warnings that the emails are the property of Elgin and can’t be forwarded etc. Obviously something that I didn’t agree to, but am unwilling to defend myself in court. Mr Prigge, however, had NO PROBLEM breaching MY rights by forwarding MY email to him. I wonder, other than being a coward, why he would do that?

    • Gibster says:

      I think your emails are RIP for a lawsuit or two, especially if proved they fell into the hands of bigots and worse on the newspaper message board comment sites. There are to be 3 lawsuits ready tomorrow if it passes with BSL, maybe a 4th?

  12. Elgin2030 says:

    With T-24 hours to go.. Episode 3 of Elgin2030 takes a look at decoding Mr. Prigge — http://elgin2030.com/wordpress/?p=32

  13. Dogjudge says:

    Well at this point in time the opponents of this ordinance can only hope that one of the folks promoting this will realize how they have been hoodwinked by Prigge and Gilliam. Are you listening Mr. Warren and Mayor Schok?

    That ANY politician would intentionally exclude testimony from recognized experts in any field of inquiry only demonstrates their arrogance and irresponsible behavior.

    If Elgin was considering ANY type of ordinance that addressed the safety of their citizens and REFUSED expert testimony they should be ashamed and resign.

  14. Diva says:

    This city can’t even enforce the ordinance we have now on dogs. Can just see how this one is handled. Both code and police seem to have vision problems. By the way, when are Christmas decorations suppose to come down?

  15. Mike Robins says:

    Spoke with Lilia Chacon today from Fox News Chicago, they are aware of tonights council meeting, however it may not be on their agenda. She is going to speak with the producer again and give it a try. Jim Bauman from the Daily Herald is sending out a photographer, as they expect more people to attend! My council vote tonight would be NO as I feel the BSL will punish innocent owners. The ordinance alone, without the BSL, should be voted through. If I am elected in the future, I would attempt to repeal this element of the ordinance.

    • Gibster says:

      Agreed Mike, Ordinance goes from 15 poorly written sections to 26 robust and we;; executed sections… all WITHOUT the BSL added. So PLEASE just pass without BSL and go after the idiots who don’t pay attention to the current ordinance. Note the AWESOMENESS of the Animal Control Brochure for any resident with questions currently! http://www.cityofelgin.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=1349

    • Julia says:

      Speaking of awesome, Officer Rog is a great asset to the City of Elgin, but he is only one person. A city the size of Elgin needs more than one Animal Control Officer to enforce any ordinance, freeing up Sworn Police Officers to deal with crime, drugs and gangs.

  16. maura wood maschinski says:

    “WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Elgin City Council reconsidered the pit bull portion of the Animal Ordinance and removed it! Thank you, thank you, thank you Mayor Schock and Councilmen Prigge, Dunne, Gilliam, Kaptain, Steffen and Warren. We cannot thank you enough!!”

    • Michelle C says:

      Maura, thank you so much!!

      And thank you Council!

    • TO maurawoodmaschinski says:

      !!!!YOU CAN BE MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE MOST WORS ANIMAL IN THIS WORLD.!!!!!!and nobody only GOOD is going to take you away.even if you do something wrong in a moment of anger!!!!.YOU NEVER GOING TO BE REMOVE!!!!!A PITBULL IS SAME AS ANYBODY or animal.they learn how you teach them any body can be a animal in a moment in theyre lifes.and the most SAD OF EVERYTHING PITBULLS!!!CAN NOT DEFEND BY THEYRE SELF.!!!!!!

  17. youmother says:


  18. maura wood maschinski says:

    while i consider this to be a resounding success on the part of everyone who worked so hard on this cause, we must all remind ourselves that the city council and mayor of elgin were open-minded and gracious in their willingness to hear our side, and we, in turn, need to be gracious, too. we now need to take a stand as responsible dog owners and prove to the city that our pets are what we claimed them to be, loving dogs no different than anyone elses. mayor and councilmen, i thank you, for your decsion.

  19. Mike Robins says:

    Last night was a great success for all dog owners, we had an impact for change and proper decision making. Even our current mayor realized this. I had spoken to most of the council members last week in support of the ordinance, without the BSL, due to the deterrent factor of the elements in the new ordinance. Some of them also spoke with me of the financial implications of enforcement and legal objections after the fact. Early yesterday, Miss Chacon from My Fox Chicago shared with me that they were aware of the issue, but decided not to cover it. I expressed to her the feelings of many in our city and that this was more than a simple one time issue, as we discussed all the elements of our existing and proposed changes. She said she would speak with the managing producer again. I was very pleased to see Anchor Nancy Pender with the news van in the parking lot when I arrived. We got our coverage, our voices were heard! This is exactly what our elected officials are voted in to do! There will be other issues in the future, remember your impact this time around.

  20. Michelle C says:

    Mike, Thanks for all of your help!

    It is important for us to maintain vigilance in an effort to prevent future incidents.

    Loose dogs must be reported, as well as any that have been witnessed to commit a violent act (attacking another person or animal, even a close-call).

    I’m looking into anti-dogfighting campaigns as well.

  21. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Last week I emailed all the city council members and encouraged them to protect us against dangerous dogs with an ordinance that would not provoke costly litigation.

    I reminded the city council how I don’t forget when costly litigation is provoked.

    Glad to read they had some common sense with their voting.

  22. Keeping Chickens says:

    “…under this amended ordinance unlawlful to keep any farm animal, including chickens. Why they worked this in there at this time is perplexing. As we’ve mentioned before on this blog in a post on urban homesteading, many people in this country, some even in big cities like Chicago, are keeping chickens as pets, for 4-H activities and for fresh eggs. It’s a good trend, and there is absolutely no reason to make it unlawful for somebody to keep a few backyard hens…”

    Wow! I hope you guys are fighting this as well! In my opinion there’s nothing that compares to walking down the end of your garden first thing in the morning and collecting your own fresh eggs.

    We’ve been Keeping Chickens for a couple of years now and not only do they provide fresh eggs, chicken manure for our compost heap and eventually our vegetable patch; but also they provide hours of endless fun and are educational for our kids - teaching them to look after animals, that eggs don’t just come from supermarkets etc.

  23. All over the country, local governments are dealing with requests to legalize chicken raising. Many are making the changes. But others are strongly resisting. I don’t think urban homesteading is a trend…it’s a WAVE!