In the eyes of the law, Buddy the pit bull is potentially vicious. To his supporters, the 7-year-old canine is a good dog who should be allowed to come home.
The pit bull is being held by Cook County officials after a Feb. 21 incident where the dog attacked two vet techs at a Tinley Park clinic. At least one of the victims was taken to the hospital via ambulance, a county spokesman said.
Buddy's fate will be decided during a "vicious dog hearing" by a county judge at a date yet to be determined, county spokesman Frank Shuftan.
Donna Alexander, Cook County's Animal Control administrator, said Buddy's case is "probably the hardest case that I have ever had" as she is balancing the dog's foster owners' affection with public safety.
"I've got two things (on) my mind. I've got this wonderful dog that's got these people living with it and they love it and it sleeps in their bed, and then I've got a dog who all of the sudden goes berserk," Alexander said.
Alexander said the scene at the Tinley Park animal clinic on 17745 S. Oak Park Ave. was a "bloodbath" and said the victim's injuries were "horrendous." She was not present during the attack.
Tinley Park Police Chief Steve Neubauer said "nobody was doing anything to the dog," witnesses told police, when it attacked two clinic employees.
A petition on Change.org posted by Anthony Concialdi called on the Tinley Park Police Department and the Cook County Circuit Court to "let Buddy come home."
The petition had more than 1,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. In it, Concialdi said the dog has not exhibited violent tendencies in the past.
"We love this guy and don't want to lose him. Cook County wants him destroyed," Concialdi wrote. "I am willing to accept any restrictions that may be imposed on the condition of his release."
Concialdi did not return messages seeking comment.
Shannon Smith, a supporter of Buddy's, said she believes he is "a good dog."
Little is known about the dog's history, Alexander and Neubauer said. On the Change.org petition, Concialdi said Buddy was originally found chained up in a yard during winter.
"Despite all he has been through, he is still happy, polite and listens very well. All he needs is a tennis ball and a few treats and he is happy."
Alexander said the judge has numerous options for resolving the situation, including euthanasia.
"That is up to the judge," Alexander said. "Other than that, I will only make the comments that the judge has all of the options under the state law and the state law affords the judge several (options), one of them is euthanasia."