By: Kate Pabich
Only weeks after a Galesburg boy, Ryan Maxwell, was mauled to death by a dog, city leaders are brainstorming on how to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again, and they've chosen a meaningful man to help find a solution.
It's the little boy, Ryan's grandfather, Tom.
"It makes me feel really great that the city of Galesburg is getting involved and actually doing something about this."
And shockingly after losing his grandson to a deadly pit bull attack, tom has no hard feelings toward the breed. He says it's all about the owners.
"One of the things we talked about was when you adopt an animal or register one you take a class on how to properly raise an animal."
He said animal neglect happens all too often in the area and there is no city ordinance right now that will stop it.
"It's my belief that it's the people who ignore the animal or fence it out in the backyard and totally forget about them that's about the instance that happened to me and my grandson."
But the main goal Tom has for the task force: saving other innocent lives like Ryan's.
"Trying to hope this task force will eliminate other children and adults from getting harmed by pit bulls and other animals"
Mayor Garza says right now the city cannot make a law banning a certain type of dog but local lawmakers are looking into changing that.
And Erin Buckmaster with the Knox County Humane Society says it's the backyard breeding that causes issues.
"The world is overrun with pets so stricter breeding licenses, and stopping the backyard breeding because that's really where it's at so spaying and neutering ordinances and a no chaining ordinance. And more responsible ownership."
She says the main way to stop it is for everyone to keep an eye on their neighbor's pets. They should not be chained outside for extended periods of time.