Members of the Board of Works on Thursday will hold a hearing on the fate of a yet another dog deemed dangerous by animal shelter officials.
Mayor Joe Yochum, who sits on the board with Steve Blinn and Mark Hill, said the hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at City Hall, 201 Vigo St.
It won't look like a regular meeting, however, as those who wish to speak regarding the incident, which took place on July 30 at Chicago Park, will be legally sworn in by city attorney Dave Roellgen before they offer testimony and answer questions from board members.
Yochum said he's fielded requests from several people — on both sides of this argument — who wish to come and speak about the alleged dog bite.
He said they will take those as they come, but board members will certainly hear from the city police officer who took the initial report, from animal shelter officials who have been caring for the dog, a pit bull named Axel, as well as the victim's family members.
The man who owns the dog, Mike Dugan, and his fiancée, Elizabeth Zink, too, will be invited back to tell their side of the story.
The couple and their children last month pleaded with board members to spare the life of the dog after he got away from them, ran into Chicago Park and bit a 14-year-old girl on the legs as she was swinging.
Dugan and Zink live on East Minneapolis Street.
Animal shelter director Leah Vantlin said the girl suffered four puncture wounds to her legs, none of which received stitches per a physician's recommendation due to the likelihood of infection from a dog bite.
Board members were shown photos of those wounds.
City officials then seized the dog from Dugan, and Axel has been held at the shelter since July 30. He was placed on a 10-day hold then ordered euthanized due to his "unpredictable" behavior at the shelter, Vantlin told the board last month.
He's good with some employees, she said, but not so good with others.
The dog's owners say they haven't been able to see him since the incident in July, and they worry that his behavior has been aggravated by their absence and unfamiliar surroundings.
They have offered, too, to move him out of Knox County if he is returned.
Board members opted to hold this hearing so they could be privy to sworn testimony regarding all the details of the case.
No one from the victim's family or local police was at the board meeting last month.
The board will likely then render its decision at the conclusion of the hearing Thursday.
The board went through a similar process last year with a white pit bull named Malcolm who bit a family friend.
After a lengthy and emotional hearing, board members sided with former animal shelter director Laura Arial in her decision to see the dog euthanized.
The dog's owner, Courtney Ivers, appealed to board members, but they took serious issue with the severity of the bite — which required stitches to close — and alleged conflicting stories Ivers gave to police shortly thereafter.
After the board's decision to euthanize the dog, Ivers asked for a judicial review of the case, and just before Christmas, Knox County Circuit Judge Gara Lee sided with city officials.
Then, in an odd twist, the dog was stolen from the shelter and missing for several weeks.
City police eventually recovered the dog from a home on Sycamore Street — no arrests were ever made — and returned it to the city where it was euthanized in April of 2018.