No Charges Pressed

Controversy over shooting of local dog

Serena Thakkar, Featured Editor

On August 19, State Attorney Jamie Mosser issued a statement regarding the death of Ludwig,  a Dogo Argentino shot by neighbor Hal Phipps, husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps. 

Mosser stated “We will review all evidence from the thorough investigation. Based on the applicable law we will make a determination as to whether charges are appropriate. I know people are interested in this case, but in the interest of justice we must be thorough.”

After nearly a month of debate regarding if Phipps’ decision was an act of self defense or an unacceptable action towards a harmless dog, Mosser declared that no charges would be pressed against Phipps.

Phipps was not found guilty of reckless discharge of a firearm or reckless conduct. 

During a news conference on Wednesday, September 15, Mosser explained “The woman [friend of Joe Petit, Ludwig’s owner] was [30 to 40 feet] from Ludwig when he was shot. As such, we are unable to charge Mr. Phipps, as both require that the shooting be conducted in a reckless manner that endangers the safety of another individual. 

Additionally, Phipps was not pressed with any charges regarding Ludwig’s death. When announcing this, Mosser cited Illinois’ Human Care for Animal Act as support. Section 3.02, Aggravated Cruelty, states that “No person may intentionally commit an act that causes a companion animal to suffer serious injury or death.” 

Although it was clearly established that Phipps intentionally shot Ludwig, Mosser did not press charges because Phipps claimed he feared for his life. Phipps had been previously attacked by Petit’s dogs on June 29 of this year. Images showed marks on Phipps pants and a puncture wound on his leg. 

When reviewing the case law, it was found that the majority of cases where charges were pressed had to do with mistreatment towards dogs. There was an instance when the person who shot the dog was found guilty, however this was because the dog was on its owners property and the shooter was not in fear or put in danger by the dog. According to video evidence, Petit’s dogs had walked onto Phipps’ property. 

In an interview with ABC7News, Petit’s neighbors expressed their frustration regarding Mosser’s decision. “I have two dogs of my own and I’m scared to walk them, I know my neighbors are scared,” Daszkiewicz told ABC 7.

Petit was too upset to answer further questions from the news station. “It’s a bad day, it’s a sad day for me. Thank you for stopping by, I’m sorry.”