Thursday, July 31, 2014


On June 26, Christine Groves was walking Bella, her dachshund-beagle-chihuahau mix, at the intersection of Lincoln and Ash streets when two dogs owned by animal control board member Sheryle Henry attacked. One of the two dogs was unleashed, according to Groves and a Leland Groves police report. The other was being walked by a man identified as Henry’s brother, and witnesses reported that he had to repeatedly kick one of the dogs, WHICH RESEMBLED A PIT BULL, to end the attack. The dogs were BULL TERRIERS, according to animal control records, that each weigh more than 40 pounds.

“This wasn’t a bite, this was a mauling – Bella weighs 20 pounds,” Groves said. “These dogs are not family pets. I thought they were pit bulls. Henry has never contacted me. Early on, this would have been ‘I’m so sorry, let me pay your vet bill.’ But that is not what has happened. … When I sue her, it’s going to be ‘Sheryle Henry, animal control board member’ on the lawsuit.”

Henry submitted a written statement to Illinois Times, saying that her dogs are purebred English bull terriers and that a relative with mental issues entered her home while she was gone and walked her dogs without permission. She said her dogs were provoked, although she acknowledged having no firsthand knowledge of the incident.

Bella is recovering from bite wounds – the veterinarian bill came to $700. Groves suffered minor bites on her hands when she tried rescuing Bella. A witness to the attack followed the man who had been walking the culprits to Henry’s home, where he saw the man put the dogs in the home and drive away with an unidentified woman. Sangamon County animal control subsequently confiscated the dogs and quarantined them to ensure they did not have rabies. One of the dogs, Dottie, did have proof of vaccination but the other, Pompeii, did not and so was vaccinated before being released to Henry, who paid $995 to get her dogs back, records indicate.

It was not Henry’s first visit to animal control, where records show that Pompeii had been impounded at least four times after being found running loose prior to the attack on Bella.  On at least one prior occasion, in April of 2011, Pompeii was given a rabies vaccination after impoundment when animal control officials found no proof of vaccination. Animal control officials eventually required Henry to spay Pompeii, and the procedure was completed in the spring of 2013, after the fourth time the dog was picked up.

In her written statement, Henry says that her dogs twice escaped while left in the care of friends.

“Perhaps because they were agitated as a result of being away from me, these dogs escaped from the yards they were in by jumping fences,” Henry wrote.

The state’s attorney’s office may get involved.

“We are waiting for all the information from animal control, which we do not have at this point,” said state’s attorney John Milhiser. “However, animal control has indicated to the state’s attorney’s office that they are working on making a dangerous dog determination and are going to issue ordinance violations in this case.”

In addition to run-ins with animal control, Henry, who is an office administrator for the Illinois Department  of Public Health, has twice pleaded guilty to misdemeanor shoplifting charges and has also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession, according to Sangamon County Circuit Court records.

How does someone with sticky fingers and a history of letting her dog run loose get named to an animal control advisory committee that’s supposed to help ensure public safety? Politics.

Seven members of the advisory board must be Republicans and six must be Democrats, according to county administrator Brian McFadden. There is no formal application process, and Henry submitted a resume, he said. Following standard procedure, McFadden said, Henry’s request to be on the board, which meets quarterly and pays members $50 for each gathering, was referred to county Democratic Party chairwoman Doris Turner, who recommended approval before the county board appointed her to the position on June 10, just 16 days before Grove’s dog was attacked.

Turner did not respond to an emailed interview request. The county plans to bolster the vetting process, McFadden said.

“We’ve been made aware of the issues and the more recent allegations about what happened with her dogs,” McFadden said. “Moving forward from this point on, if we do receive a name from wherever, there’ll be a recommendation that the name be run through animal control.”


bull terrier history


James Hinks bullterrier

Bull Terrier circa 1915.

An example of a modern colored bull terrier.
Early in the mid-19th century the "Bull and Terrier" breeds were developed to satisfy the needs for vermin control and animal-based blood sports. The "Bull and Terriers" were based on theOld English Bulldog (now extinct) and one or more of Old English Terrier and "Black and tan terrier", now known as Manchester Terrier. This new breed combined the speed and dexterity of lightly built terriers with the dour tenacity of the Bulldog, which was a poor performer in most combat situations, having been bred almost exclusively for fighting bulls and bears tied to a post. Many breeders began to breed bulldogs with terriers, arguing that such a mixture enhances the quality of fighting. Despite the fact that a cross between a bulldog and a terrier was of high value, very little or nothing was done to preserve the breed in its original form. Due to the lack of breed standards—breeding was for performance, not appearance—the "Bull and Terrier" eventually divided into the ancestors of "Bull Terriers" and "Staffordshire Bull Terriers", both smaller and easier to handle than the progenitor.[9][10][11][12]
About 1850, James Hinks started breeding "Bull and Terriers" with "English White Terriers" (now extinct), looking for a cleaner appearance with better legs and nicer head. In 1862, Hinks entered a bitch called "Puss" sired by his white Bulldog called "Madman" into the Bull Terrier Class at the dog show held at the Cremorne Gardens in Chelsea. Originally known as the "Hinks Breed" and "The White Cavalier", these dogs did not yet have the now-familiar "egg face", but kept the stop in the skull profile.[13][14][15]

The difference between "Bullies" and "Staffies"

Bull Terrier in black and tan
The dog was immediately popular and breeding continued, using DalmatianGreyhoundSpanish PointerFoxhound and Whippet to increase elegance and agility; and Borzoi and Collie to reduce the stop. Hinks wanted his dogs white, and bred specifically for this. Generally, however, breeding was aimed at increasing sturdiness: three "subtypes" were recognised by judges, Bulldog, Terrier and Dalmatian, each with its specific conformation, and a balance is now sought between the three. The first modern Bull Terrier is now recognised as "Lord Gladiator", from 1917, being the first dog with no stop at all.[9][13][14][16][17]

A red and white Bull Terrier.
Due to medical problems associated with all-white breeding, Ted Lyon among others began introducing colour, using Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the early 20th century. Coloured Bull Terriers were recognised as a separate variety (at least by the AKC) in 1936. Brindle is the preferred colour, but other colours are welcome.[15][18]
Along with conformation, specific behaviour traits were sought. The epithet "White cavalier", harking back to an age of chivalry, was bestowed on a breed which while never seeking to start a fight was well able to finish one, while socialising well with its "pack", including children and pups. Hinks himself had always aimed at a "gentleman's companion" dog rather than a pit-fighter—though Bullies were often entered in the pits, with some success.


Bull Terriers can be both independent and stubborn[2] and for this reason are not considered suitable for an inexperienced dog owner. They are protective of their family, although comprehensive socialisation at an early age will prevent them from becoming over-protective and neurotic.
Bull Terriers have a strong prey instinct[3] and when unduly challenged may injure or kill other animals,[4][5] especially cats.[4] That said, puppies brought up with cats and other animals get on well with the animals they know.[4][4][5] Early socialisation will ensure that the dogs will get along with other dogs and animals.


Anonymous said...

" The other was being walked by a man identified as Henry’s brother, and witnesses reported that he had to repeatedly kick one of the dogs, WHICH RESEMBLED A PIT BULL, to end the attack. The dogs were BULL TERRIERS, according to animal control records, that each weigh more than 40 pounds."

That seems odd since Bull Terriers, while sharing common ancestor can hardly be said to resemble the modern pit bull.

Decatur AL livin nt to 4 pits said...

Yes, this is very odd, Anonymous. I need to see a Picture of the attacker. I don't believe a word Sheryle Henry says either!