A Kane County grand jury will review the shooting death last summer of a dog in Wayne that sparked outrage in the town and on social media, authorities announced Monday.
Ludwig, a Dogo Argentino breed, was fatally shot on Aug. 10, 2021. Ludwig’s owner, Joe Petit, accused Hal Phipps — the husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps — of shooting his dog without justification. Phipps said the dog was on his property and threatening him, so he shot in self-defense.
After the shooting, “Justice for Ludwig” yard signs appeared throughout the suburbs. Some residents called for Eileen Phipps to resign.
After an investigation by the Kane County sheriff’s office, State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser announced in September that Phipps was justified and would not face charges.
But on Monday, Mosser said her office will present information to a grand jury by the end of the month about Ludwig’s death.
“Although I am in no way bound to revisit this case, I have agreed to do so based on a number of requests regarding the evidence and the law,” Mosser said. “It is my hope that once the grand jury process is complete, regardless of the outcome, that everyone will abide by the grand jury’s decision and conclude that the process has been fair, neutral and transparent.”
Before the shooting, there was ill will between the Phippses and their next-door neighbor Petit. Both of their properties back up to the Fox River.
Hal Phipps told police in June 2021 that Petit’s two dogs had entered the Phippses’ property and one of them bit him in a leg. He required hospital treatment for the wound.
Petit received tickets for letting the dogs run loose. He pleaded guilty in January to one charge about letting Ludwig run loose.
On the day the shooting occurred, Ludwig and another of Petit’s dogs went down the river with one of Petit’s friends. A video taken from Petit’s back porch shows Ludwig then turning south on the shoreline and out of view, blocked by a line of trees. The video does not show the shooting.
Phipps told investigators Ludwig came onto his property and moved aggressively at him. He shot the dog with a revolver.
Kane County sheriff’s deputies were the first to report to the scene because they were nearby in an unincorporated neighborhood. Later that day, Wayne police asked the sheriff’s office to handle the investigation because the case involved the village president’s husband.
Meanwhile, people started the “Justice for Ludwig” campaign. Some donated to a GoFundMe page for Petit. More than 5,400 joined a “Justice for Ludwig” Facebook page.
Some called on Eileen Phipps to resign during village board meetings. Others said no charges were filed against Phipps because his wife had political clout with Mosser and Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain.
A Schaumburg man was charged with telephone harassment for leaving a message saying “they’re coming for him, he’s so (expletive)” about Phipps on the Wayne village hall phone system. He pleaded guilty to attempted disorderly conduct.
On Monday, Petit declined to comment on Mosser’s announcement on the advice of his attorney.
Eileen and Hal Phipps could not be immediately reached for comment.