A hearing date has finally been set for Padi the Labrador who is facing euthanasia.
Judge Andrew Owens Jr. will hear the Labrador’s case to decide on the constitutionality of the state law that requires dogs to be killed if they cause severe injury. The court date is November 4 at the Manatee Judicial Center’s Courtroom 8B.
Padi, a 4-year-old Labrador mix, bit a little boy in early June while the child and his babysitter were visiting the Lab’s owner, Dr. PaulGartenberg, at his Pet Clinic in Bradenton.
There are conflicting accounts of the incident: one says the boy provoked the dog by lunging at Padi to get him out from under the desk, and the other says Padi lunged at the child when he bent over to pick up a toy by the desk.
In the summer, Robert Eschenfelder, Manatee County’s chief assistant county attorney and Padi’s attorney Charles Britt filed a joint motion asking the circuit court to intervene and rule on the constitutionality of the state law.
The Labrador will be permanently released and the case closed if the court rules that the law as unconstitutional.
“The county would not appeal such a ruling, but would instead suggest it would further support the need for the Legislature to revise the law in its 2016 session, as our county commission requested recently,” Eschenfelder said.
But if the court rules that the law is constitutional, then Gartenberg would have to choose to either return to the hearing officer process or appeal the court’s ruling to the Second District Court of Appeal.
Britt filed a motion for summary judgment on September 25 – arguing that the state’s Dangerous Dog Law is unconstitutional because:
“There are no genuine issues of material fact and based upon the case law as applied in this circumstance.
The Respondent respectfully prays and requests, based upon the forgoing facts and case law, that the Court find Section 767.13(2), Florida Statutes, as written and subsequently applied in this case to be unconstitutional ab initio, as violative of the Due Process Clause of the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.
In addition, the Respondent requests further that the case and charges against ‘Padi’ be dismissed with prejudice, and that all previously imposed conditions of release be revoked.”
In the county’s motion for summary judgment, the county states that they seek a “declaratory judgment from this Court declaring the following:
- Whether Florida Statutes 767.13(2) is unconstitutional as written and as so found by other courts which have examined the question,
- If so, pursuant to this Court’s authority to grant supplemental relief as set forth in Florida Statutes 86.061, that the underlying citation be found void ab initio and that Defendant’s dog be permanently released to his custody with no further restrictions.
A Facebook page named Free Padi has been launched to support Padi and his family.