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Suit: Cop failed to stop his pit bull from ‘gruesomely killing’ smaller dog

Updated: July 3, 2012 5:55PM

A Chicago Police officer failed to restrain his “vicious” pit bull from mauling and “gruesomely killing” a small dog at Montrose Beach while his owner and children watched, a lawsuit filed Tuesday claims.

When someone tried to stop the March attack, the off-duty officer came over and asked, “Why are you punching my f------ dog?” the suit claims.

Matthew J. Bracken was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which seeks more than $200,000 in damages.

Audrey Fisher, of Steger, went to the dog park at the beach with her 12-year-old daughter, son, small Pomeranian dog, Willy, and another dog at 2:30 p.m. March 17, according to the suit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Her daughter was throwing a ball to Willy when a pit bull terrier that “was not accompanied by anyone who appeared to be watching him” moved quickly toward Willy, the suit said. The dog began aggressively hovering over Willy, the suit said, so Fisher began screaming — to no avail.

The pit bull bit down on Willy’s stomach and violently shook the dog back and forth, the suit said. A bystander began hitting the pit bull on the head in an attempt to free Willy.

The suit claims the pit bull’s owner — identified as Bracken, of the 3800 block of North Pontiac — then came over and asked the bystander, “Why are you punching my f------ dog?”

Bracken then removed the pit bull’s jaws from Willy, but he refused to give his name and phone number when Fisher asked for it, the suit said. Someone asked the pit bull’s owner if he was a Chicago cop because his sunglasses were commonly by officers, but Bracken denied it, the suit said.

Bracken did say he would go to the veterinarian’s office with the family, but never showed up, the suit claims.

Willy died from his injuries three days later on March 20. The vet bill was $5,800.

On March 23, Fisher passed out hundreds of fliers with a cell phone photo of the man.

Fisher received a call from a local television station on April 17, informing her that Bracken had turned himself in, the suit said.

Bracken pleaded guilty to two citations for failing to report the animal attack and failing to restrain his animal, the suit said. He was put on a leave of absence from the police department.

The suit claims that Fisher and her daughter suffered lasting emotional distress and pain and suffering due to the gruesome attack and death of Willy, which was compounded by Bracken’s concerted effort to conceal his identity and failure to take responsibility for his conduct.

The five-count suit claims negligence, damage to personal property, intentional as well as negligent infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Animal Control Act.

Niether Bracken nor the city’s law department could be reached for comment.

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