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‘Vicious’ dogs trap Staples’ customers in Elmwood Park

Elmwood Park Police attempt remove dog from Staples 1850 N Harlem Avenue Tuesday July 24 2012 Elmwood Park. | Rob

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

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Updated: July 24, 2012 5:34PM

Two “vicious” dogs barred customers from leaving the Staples office supply store in Elmwood Park on Tuesday.

Elmwood Park police responded at 10:51 a.m. to a call of two dogs loose in Staples, Police Chief Frank Fagiano said.

“They were being chased by Chicago police when they crossed Harlem into Elmwood Park.”

The dogs — and Akita and a Napoleon mastiff — ran into the big-box store, at 1850 N. Harlem Ave., barking and snarling at customers and employees.

“They ran into the doors at Staples, which opened because they’re automatic doors,” he said.

Bystanders said the dogs were terrifying.

“They were big dogs, one of them looked like a German shepherd,” said Lucia Murillo, a representative with State Farm who works across the street.

A nearby landscaper had tried to scare them away with a leaf blower, Murillo said.

She said she watched as the dogs came from behind her office, ran across Harlem and made it into the store.

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.

Store employees jumped up on the counters and the dogs put their front paws on the counters, said witnesses watching from outside the store.

When police arrived, accompanied by an animal control officer from Oak Park, they found people standing on counters, Fagiano said.

Once the area was secured, the officers used pepper spray to subdue the animals.

The Oak Park animal control officer was already in the area responding to Oak Park residents’ complaints about loose dogs near North and Harlem avenues, Oak Park village spokesman David Powers said.

Inside the store, the animal control officer used food to lure the less-aggressive dog toward him so he could slip on a 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,” Powers said.

The dogs were placed into cages and removed from the store y. They were taken to Elmwood-Grove Animal Hospital, where they were tranquilized, Powers said.

Fagiano said the owner will be ticketed for violating village ordinances, but he declined to give his name.

“We know who he is,” Fagiano said. “We just haven’t cited him yet.”

Officials from Staples were not available for comment.

Customers were seen leaving the store covering their noses and mouths.

“The fumes did affect some people, and we had the fire department on hand,” Fagiano said. “But there were no injuries.”

Barb Barzozowski, an employee at the 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.

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