Animal control officials said that the French bulldog mix that mauled its owner to death in Fox Lake was ‘tragic and unusual’ and the dog will likely be euthanized.
Lisa Urso, 52, of the 600 block of Knollwood Road in Fox Lake, was found dead on the back porch of her residence on around 4:45 p.m. Saturday, according to Fox Lake Police Chief Jimmy Lee.
Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said that Urso died on the back porch after she escaped her home where she had been attacked by at least one of her three dogs.
Officials called the scene ‘gruesome’ and said that there had been signs of a struggle in the home.
One of the woman’s French bulldogs was the apparent biter, Cooper told Lake and McHenry County Scanner, adding that the dog was a rescue who had previously been trained to fight.
However, Lake County Animal Care and Control Spokeswoman Hannah Goering said that there is no evidence the dog, a 2-year-old male French bulldog mix named Blue, had been trained to fight.
“Blue is in great health, no visible scars or torn-up ears,” Goering told Lake and McHenry County Scanner. The dog weighs approximately 55 pounds.
Several social media reports said that Blue was not a French bulldog but actually a Shorty bulldog. Goering said that Urso told animal control officials in April, when a previous attack happened, that Blue was a French bulldog.
Animal control officials believe the dog is a French bulldog mix and that is what they have listed in their records.
Urso had two other dogs, Rocco, a 2-year-old male French bulldog mix that weighs 36 pounds, and Spike, a 15-year-old male collie mix that weighs 25 pounds, according to the Fox Lake Police Department.
Blue and Rocco both had blood on them but authorities believe Blue was the primary biter. He had previously bit Urso’s boyfriend on April 13 and April 21.
Police were called to Urso’s residence on both of those occasions and Blue was seized by Lake County Animal Care and Control. The dog was returned to Urso after she requested it back.
An autopsy performed on the woman Tuesday morning confirmed her death was the result of a dog attack, Cooper said.
“Because of Blue’s past history and this new attack, the dog is showing lots of signs of aggression. We would have real reservations allowing this dog to be placed in a home,” Goering said. All three dogs are in the custody of animal control.
Blue will likely be humanely euthanized unless Urso’s family expresses interest in adapting him, which none of them have so far, Goering said. If they do express interest, the matter could end up in court and health officials would argue against the adoption because the dog is a public health risk.
Rocco and Spike, who have not shown any signs of being aggressive, will both be put up for adoption if Urso’s next of kin do not adopt them.
“I know people are passionate about dog breeds. I think it’s natural in this situation to want answers. This is very tragic and an unusual incident that was isolated,” Goering said.
“This isn’t about the breed of the dog. All breeds can bite but it’s very rare for a dog to bite its owner,” she added.
Officials said it is unclear what caused the Saturday attack that led to Urso’s death.
The Fox Lake Police Department, Lake County Coroner’s Office and Lake County Health Department continue to investigate the death.