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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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The Sofa King June 24, 2014 at 04:59 PM
Your right about the phony certificates. The owners threaten businesses with a American Disabilities Act or ACLU lawsuit if they refuse admittance.
Raggedyann June 24, 2014 at 06:13 PM
Really is a disgrace, how people always find a way figure out a scam in every aspect of life. Nothing is safe from it.
Lucy June 25, 2014 at 02:09 AM
The therapy dog ran from a neighbors' home? a block over? Who was watching this dog and why was it at a neighbors' home?
Wife & Mother June 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM
See people always give Pit Bulls a bad rap. Every dog can bite and kill, not just the pit bull.
Alicia Martha Miller July 14, 2014 at 06:51 PM
Hint for people commenting; a therapy dog is a dog that visits nursing homes and hospitals. Most people here seem to confuse it with a Service Dog - which is a dog trained to help a person with a specific disability. Second - a borzoi should be trained not to attack pets... they can learn the difference between prey and pets - I know because I do train service dogs, including borzoi.

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