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Wrong dog euthanized, so animal that bit 3 was adopted

6-year-old GavLee hospital after being biten by bull mastiff named 'Moose' July 3 2011 Kendall County Animal Control shelter Yorkville.

6-year-old Gavin Lee in the hospital after being biten by a bull mastiff named "Moose" on July 3, 2011 at the Kendall County Animal Control shelter in Yorkville. | Photo courtesy Shannon Flores.

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Updated: November 2, 2011 12:45AM

The bull Mastiff was ordered destroyed after biting a postal worker and two others — one a six-year-old boy bitten in the face.

But a far west suburban animal control administrator admitted Friday that not only did her workers euthanize the wrong dog, but the dangerous animal they had been telling the public they destroyed had mistakenly been adopted out to another family.

“He’s alive,” admitted Christine Johnson, administrator of Kendall County’s Animal Control facility. “I made a mistake. The dog I put down, I thought was the one.”

Johnson was placed on administrative leave Friday after she admitted that she lied about having euthanized Moose, the bull Mastiff who bit six-year-old Gavin Lee on July 3.

The boy was accompanying his father, David Lee of Plano, to the shelter where Lee worked as part of court-ordered community service.

The surprise disclosure about the screw-up came at a meeting members of the Kendall County Board’s Animal Control Committee convened Friday morning to discuss changes at the facility in light of the bite situation.

During discussion, Erik Devick, a Plano resident involved in dog rescue groups, insisted Moose still was alive, and had been mistakenly adopted-out to a family in Lake Holiday, an unincorporated subdivision in DeKalb County.

Devick said a dog that Animal Control euthanized shortly after the July 3 incident was not Moose, but another bull Mastiff. Up until that point, Animal Control and Kendall County officials had been telling the public that Moose was euthanized.

Johnson admitted Friday that the wrong dog had been killed. She said the other bull Mastiff “had issues,” too.

“That’s why I thought it was the dog,” she said.

Clearly angry, Anne Vickery, chairman of the Animal Control Committee, who up to that moment had insisted to press and the public that Moose had been euthanized, made a point to say she was repeating information given to her by Johnson.

“This is the first we’ve heard this,” Vickery said. “We had no idea.”

When Vickery asked Johnson how long she had known she had euthanized the wrong dog, Johnson said she found out about a week afterward.

Animal Control officials are looking into getting Moose back from his current home in Lake Holiday, a situation made more difficult because the dog is in a different county. Officials will have to make arrangement with DeKalb County to get the dog.

It appears the July 3 bite by Moose was his third. He bit a postman in Montgomery in late May, which is why the dog was at the Animal Control shelter, and had bitten someone in his neighborhood earlier than that. It is unclear if Animal Control knew about that first bite.

Devick said he brought his information to the board because he did not think it was fair to euthanize any animal until it had been fairly evaluated. He said he believed that Moose is more than 60 percent blind, which might be why it bit the child at the shelter.

“No dog shows aggression by nature,” Devick said. “It comes from training, or any number of situations. This was a complete breakdown of Animal Control. I believe things should be changed.”

Devick got his wish.

The committee adopted a new set of guidelines for the Animal Control shelter.

The Yorkville shelter will be more secure, and people will no longer have access to rooms where the animals are.

“Unfortunately, this is a place that was once perceived as happy, Brownies-visiting, fun. It will be changed forever,” Vickery said. “It can never return to the way it was.”

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