SOUTH SHORE — The owner of two pit bulls that attacked a 3-year-old boy Monday, a one-time staffer of former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., was ticketed for the mauling and had her dogs taken away by Animal Care and Control.
Change Hayyim, 43, was ticketed for not having a dog license or proof that the pit bulls had rabies vaccinations, police said.
Hayyim was a former top aide to Jackson who stirred controversy last year when she filed a civil rights suit alleging she was harassed by the former congressman and his chief of staff.
In November, Hayyim said the problem with Jackson started when she said she wanted to take off work for a Jewish holiday, according to ABC News.
On Tuesday, Hayyim could be seen escorting the two dogs away from her home on the 7300 block of South Kingston Avenue, past an animal control van and into a waiting SUV.
Anthony Taylor, Hayyim's next-door neighbor, said he "felt bad for Change ... but it was time for [the dogs] to go."
After the dogs mauled the small boy Monday afternoon, animal control was called in to take them away. Animal control officers said Tuesday the dogs would be observed before official decide whether they should be returned to Hayyim.
Taylor said the boy was only saved through the quick actions of neighbor Willie Riley, who said he was cooking and watching television in his home when he heard a young girl banging on his door.
The girl told Riley her 3-year-old cousin was being mauled by two pit bulls and needed help.
Riley ran to a fire station directly across the street before realizing the station was empty and he was on his own. Armed with a wooden stick, he went into the house and found the two dogs biting the boy on his face and head before he was able to shoo them away, he said.
Taylor and Riley said Hayyim had left the children alone with the dogs while she ran an errand.
According to Taylor, the dogs have been known to escape Hayyim's home by digging under the backyard fence — but this time "They went too far."
The kids "came here to have fun, and now tragedy happens," he said as several children passed back and forth in front of Hayyim's yard, waiting to watch the dogs removed.
"I know she didn't do it intentionally ... but I'm glad they're gone," he added. "My daughter just had a baby today — 7 pounds, 8 ounces. I feel sorry for [Hayyim], but I gotta take care of myself and the kids on the block."
Quinn Ford and Emily Morris contributed.