Wild dogs trap Staples’ customers in Elmwood Park
Elmwood Park Police attempt to remove a dog from Staples, 1850 N Harlem Avenue on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Elmwood Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 18, 2012 2:04PM
ELMWOOD PARK — Two “vicious” dogs barred customers from leaving the Staples office supply store in Elmwood Park late Tuesday morning.
Elmwood Park police responded at 10:51 a.m. to a call of two dogs loose in Staples, according to Police Chief Frank Fagiano.
“One dog was an Akita and the other a Napoleon mastiff,” Fagiano said. “They were being chased by Chicago police when they crossed Harlem into Elmwood Park.”
The dogs ran into the big-box store, at 1850 N. Harlem Ave., barking and snarling at customers and employees.
“They ran into the doors at Staples, which opened because they’re automatic doors,” he said.
Bystanders said the dogs were terrifying.
“They were big dogs, one of them looked like a German shepherd,” said Lucia Murillo, a representative with State Farm.
A nearby landscaper had tried to scare them away with a leaf blower, Murillo said.
“The dogs came from the back (behind the State Farm office), ran across the street (Harlem) and somehow made it to the store,” said Murillo, who watched them through her office’s picture window.
The dogs were running around the Staples parking lot and then chased a customer into the store, who told employees that “vicious dogs” were following him, witnesses said.
Store employees jumped up on the counters and the dogs put their front paws on the counters, said witnesses watching from outside the store.
When police arrived, accompanied by the Oak Park animal control officer, they found people standing on counters, Fagiano said.
Once the area was secured, the officers used pepper spray to subdue the animals.
Oak Park’s animal control officer was already in the vicinity responding to Oak Park residents’ complaints about loose dogs near North and Harlem avenues, according to David Powers, communications director for the Village of Oak Park.
Inside the store, the animal control officer used food to lure the less-aggressive dog toward him so he could slip on the control pole, which has a loop on the end of it.
“After he caught the first one, he used the same device on the other one,” Powers said.
The dogs were placed into cages and removed from the store separately. They were taken to Elmwood-Grove Animal Hospital, where they were tranquilized, Powers said.
Fagiano said the owner will be ticketed for violating the village ordinance, but he declined to give his name.
“We know who he is,” Fagiano said. “We just haven’t cited him yet.”
Officials from Staples were not available for comment.
Customers were seen leaving the store covering their noses and mouths.
A few people got sick from the pepper spray and they were taken to the hospital, witnesses said.
“The fumes did affect some people, and we had the fire department on hand,” Fagiano said. “But there were no injuries.”
Barb Barzozowski, an employee at CVS Pharmacy across the street, watched the dogs running wild.
“Thank god, they didn’t come into this store. I would have died,” she said