(Another in a series of 2021’s top stories in the Fox Valley.)
It was, in many respects, the most controversial story of 2021 in the Fox Valley.
And, in retrospect, one of the strangest.
The husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps, Hal Phipps, was out in his backyard along the Fox River when, according to him, one of his next-door neighbor’s dogs attacked him. He shot and killed the dog, whose name was Ludwig. What ensued was extraordinary.
What made the whole saga so strange to us was the immediate and visceral reaction in support of the animal rather than the human. Rather than empathize with a 68 year-old man recovering from an operation on his own property, the public largely and vociferously sided with the dog. Perhaps it was his wife’s political position. Perhaps it was the back story – Ludwig’s owner’s devotion to him and his brother.
Whatever it was, it spoke to something about how human beings feel about their animal companions – or, more ominously, how little they empathize with their fellow humans.
The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident involving the shooting of a dog in Wayne.
On Tuesday, Hal Phipps, the husband of Wayne Village president Eileen Phipps, shot and killed Ludwig, a Dogo Argentinos belonging to Phipps’ neighbor, Joe Petit.
Phipps claims that the dog was on his property and had attacked him previously. Petit denies that Ludwig was on Phipps’ property and that video surveillance cameras prove that (see below).
Here’s a run-down of the story along with the video capture from CBS2.
Joe Petit of Wayne, whose dog Ludwig was shot and killed by neighbor Hal Phipps on August 10, met with Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain on Tuesday, August 21, to discuss the incident.
While the details of the meeting remain largely undisclosed, Fox Valley Magazine has learned that Mosser told Petit that a new witness had come forward in support of Petit’s claims. The identity of the witness was not divulged to Petit.
Further, Hain told the Chicago Sun-Times that he and Mosser were scheduled to visit the Petit home on Wednesday, August 29, in order to get a firsthand look at the scene of the incident due to the “sensitivity” of the case.
Meanwhile, the furor over the incident continues to resonate on social media and elsewhere.
A neighbor of Hal Phipps, the Wayne man who shot and killed Ludwig, a Dogo Argentino belonging to fellow Wayne resident Joe Petit, has sworn an affidavit that Phipps told her that he was planning to “shoot and kill” the dogs if they were ever on his property.
Caitlyn Ballard, a friend of Petit’s and who lives on the same street as both men, swore out the affidavit after having received a visit from Mr. Phipps on the evening of June 29 to discuss what Phipps claims was an attack on him by Ludwig earlier that day. Mr. Phipps told Ballard, according to the affidavit, that the Petit dogs had attacked her dogs on that same day.
According the affidavit, Phipps then told Ballard “that he intended to shoot and kill the dogs belonging to Joe Petit if they were ever on his property.”
Ballard informed Phipps that the Petit dogs could not have attacked her dog that day because the dog “was with me the entire day at another property that we own in South Elgin.”
As Joe Petit and Hal Phipps, both of Wayne, await Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser’s decision regarding Phipps’ shooting of Petit’s dog Ludwig, a few key questions of fact seem to be center stage in the drama.
On whose property was Ludwig shot?
Phipps, speaking through his wife Eileen, maintains that Ludwig was on the Phipps’ property when the shooting occured.
She said her husband was picking up “storm debris” on the couple’s property when Petit’s dogs approached him “snarling and snapping in a menacing way.”
“He’s 68 years old. He’s convalescing. He has two bad knees and carrying about 20 to 30 extra pounds,” she said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “He isn’t going to outrun the dogs. He defended himself. He was in fear for his life.”
Hal Phipps, husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps, was not charged in the shooting death of Ludwig, a Dogo Argentina owned by Wayne resident Joe Petit, Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser announced today at a press conference.
In a roughly 20 minute presentation, Kane County Sherriff Ron Hain laid out the evidence that had been obtained during the weeks-long investigation by his office, including the enhanced surveillance video from Petit’s home that gave a partial picture of what happened during the incident. Mosser then walked through the legal aspects she said formed the foundation of her ultimate decision not to prosecute.
In what is in some ways an ironic twist, it was Petit’s surveillance video, along with a hitherto unknown independent witness, that the ultimate decision not to prosecute turned upon.
“I think it was both the surveillance video as well as the independent witness [that led me to this decision],” Mosser said. “They corroborated Mr. Phipps’ statement that something was occurring with the dogs that put him in fear of his life.”
And the saga continues.
Approximately 50 protestors joined together on the Main Street Bridge in St. Charles Sunday holding signs and interacting with drivers in a show of support for Wayne resident Joe Petit and his dog Ludwig, whose death by shooting at the hands of his neighbor, Hal Phipps, has triggered a surprisingly large reaction throughout the Fox Valley.
Petit attended the rally with his remaining Dogo Argentino Philotimo, wearing a “Justice for Ludwig” t-shirt and walking through the crowd receiving well-wishes and condolences.
Last week, Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser and Kane County Sherriff Ron Hain, whose office investigated the incident, scheduled a press conference in order to present the evidence collected about the shooting and to announce Mosser’s decision as to whether Phipps had broken any laws. The presentation, which concluded that Phipps had acted in “fear of his life” and that witnesses and video evidence provided in support of Ludwig were inconsistent and contradicted by an independent witness, sparked outrage among Ludwig’s supporters from places as far away as the southern suburbs.