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'Therapy' Dog Kills Yorkshire Terrier & Mauls Joliet Man: Lawsuit

The 78-pound therapy dog was more than 10 times the size of the slain Yorkshire terrier, the lawsuit said.

A Borzoi. Credit: Arlington Patch
A Borzoi. Credit: Arlington Patch
A 78-pound therapy dog killed a tiny Yorkshire terrier and mauled a Joliet man after bursting into his yard, according to a lawsuit filed in Will County court.

The allegedly mauled man, John Heidel, filed the lawsuit along with his daughter Carolyn Lapaso.

Heidel had his daughter's 7-and-a-half-pound Yorkshire terrier, "Bella," on a retractable leash in their Rooney Drive yard in November 2013, the suit said.

While they were out for a walk in the yard, a 78-pound Borzoi therapy dog suddenly ran from a neighbor's home a block over on Sheila Drive and attacked them, the suit said.

Heidel "suffered severe injuries including a bite to his thumb and wrist and a broken shoulder," according to the suit. The therapy dog, "Rane," also killed Bella, the suit said.

The lawsuit identified Sheila Drive resident Lillian Johnson as Rane's owner and named her as the sole defendant in the case.

The lawsuit did not mention why Johnson has a therapy dog. It did say the Borzoi struck "without provocation."

The Borzoi "breed makes a great house pet," according to the American Kennel Club website.

"They need daily exercise, but will chase anything that moves, so they need to be kept on leash or in a fenced area," the site said.

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