Potential Lawsuit Got G.U. Mascot J.J. Booted

Georgetown University’s mascot bulldog will not return for the fall semester, the school announced July 31. The news surprised students and campus observers. After 15 months and lots of media hype, mascot-in-training Jack, Jr., is out as the live bulldog to represent Hoya mania at sporting and other school events. It appears that the young J.J. could not put up with large crowds and loud noises — and, more importantly, bit a young child last fall, prompting a possible lawsuit against the university by the child’s family.

“A settlement reached with two parents whose child was bitten by Jack Jr. last fall was a factor in the decision to remove the former mascot-in-training from campus,” reported the Hoya, a student newspaper. “The child sustained non-critical injuries after the incident. … Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh confirmed that the couple reached a settlement with the university and that a lawsuit was never filed.”

J.J. was to succeed Jack the Bulldog, who still lives on the main campus and who underwent surgery for a torn ACL. Jack retired in March. Students were upset about the sudden nature of J.J.’s departure and not being consulted on the decision.
J.J. lived with the older bulldog Jack and caretaker, Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., in New South dormitory. Not part of the university’s decision-making process to boot the dog, Steck later wrote in the Hoya that the university needed to do a better job of being more inclusive in how it makes decisions.

With J.J. gone and Jack retired, the university will have no live bulldog as its mascot when school starts within a month. Nevertheless, already some Georgetown residents are happy to assist with any substitutions. One such neighbor is Thomas Gerber, who has owned bulldogs and previously subbed his dog for the mascot a few years ago. Gerber said his bulldog Reuben is upto the task and happy to help with any events. “Reuben is a calm, people dog,” he said.

In a statement about the dismissal, the university’s Pugh added: “After 15 months of monitoring and training, in consultation with these experts and the breeder, we determined that returning to a home environment is what is best for J.J. … While Jack, Sr.’s official mascot duties ended last year, he will continue to live on campus. The tradition of a bulldog mascot at Georgetown is a cherished one, and it will continue.”

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