Suburban man fights court order to euthanize dog

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Heidi the dog got a stay of execution on Thursday from a Lake County judge, but only for a few days.  

The judge has agreed with the village of Hawthorn Woods that Heidi is a danger to the public, and should be euthanized.

She’s bitten nine people over the years. But as FOX 32’s Dane Placko reports, a North Barrington man is fighting the court order saying Heidi isn't a bad dog, and that she was just in a bad situation.

"I thought I could help and I didn't want to see a dog die," said Chandler Bathrick.

Bathrick admits he's crazy about dogs. He’s adopted and rescued a St. Bernard and pit bull that needed a home, and now he wants to take in Heidi, an 8-year-old beagle mix.

"I can take care of her. I'm retired. I don't work. I'm here 24/7," Bathrick said.

But Heidi is a dog with a history.

While living with her previous family in Hawthorn Woods, Heidi bit at least nine people over a span of five years. A number of them were children, and she even bit a person while the family vacationed in Florida.

Heidi bit so many people that the village of Hawthorn Woods obtained a court order declaring the dog vicious. The judge then ordered that Heidi be euthanized.

When Bathrick heard the story from Heidi’s owners at a dog park in July, he agreed to adopt the dog, which had been temporarily released from a court-ordered stay at an animal shelter because of an outbreak of canine flu.

"She lived here for two months. Nothing. No problems," Bathrick said.

But the Lake County judge ordered him to turn Heidi over to the county's animal control department, where she has been held since September awaiting euthanization.

Bathrick said he can't understand why the judge and Hawthorn Woods won't let him adopt the dog. He said with his background as a shelter volunteer, he can socialize Heidi and provide a safer environment, and he won't let Heidi run loose or encounter strangers.

FOX 32: How much have you spent in legal fees so far?

"I'm probably pushing $15-thousand dollars right now. Plus the $3-thousand dollars that is bond for Heidi's care," Bathrick said.

FOX 32: That's how much you want to keep this dog alive?

“There's more. I have more,” Bathrick said.

The village of Hawthorn Woods has spent at least $29-thousand dollars in legal fees fighting to seize and euthanize the dog.

Hawthorn Woods Mayor Joe Mancino told FOX 32 they will not back down: "We tried that route with the previous owners, but they brought it back into town... we have a heart. But sending the dog to the next town over is not really doing our job, which is protecting people."

The Lake County judge delayed the euthanization until at least Tuesday, because the case is being reviewed by the appellate court.

But the judge has seemed doubtful of Bathrick's motives, suggesting that he's in cahoots with Heidi’s previous owners, which he says is not the case.