A veterinarian’s Labrador mix, Padi, who recently bit a child is currently awaiting his final fate, which could be euthanasia! Facts suggest that the dog may have been provoked but this may not help the dog, because the law states that the dog has to be put down.
Because of these circumstances, Manatee county commissioners are urging for a change the dog bite laws in Florida.
Last month,Padi, a black Labrador mix bit a child’s ear. The boy was with his babysitter who was visiting the Labrador mix’s owner, veterinarian Dr. Paul Gartenberg, at his clinic. Reports say the boy chased the dog under a desk while playing and the dog bit off part of his ear. A lawyer told 8 On Your Side the boy will need extensive medical attention to fully repair the ear.
Padi is currently being held at the Manatee County animal services after the incident and is awaiting his fate. According to state law, the dog must be put down because of the attack. An independent hearing officer is studying and mulling over the case and will have a final decision about Padi’s fate by Friday.
Many believe the dog does not deserve to put down because he was provoked.County Commissioner Carol Whitmore believes there should be some margin to allow a dog to avoid euthanasia if an attack is provoked.
“There has been a couple of incidents in the last year or two where the state law makes no sense because there’s no discretion,” Whitmore told WFLA.
Now, Padi’s supporters are hoping state law can be changed to prevent this from happening again.
Whitmore drafted a proposed amendment to the Florida statute. The amendment would allow a hearing officer discretion if it appears the dog was provoked into an attack.
The drafted amendment reads in part:
‘…where the death of a human has not occurred, the hearing officer shall consider whether the severe injury was sustained by a person who, at the time, was unlawfully on the property or, while lawfully on the property, was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or its owner or a family member…..the hearing officer may either declare that the dog is a dangerous dog…or order that the dog be returned to the owner with no restrictions.’
Next month, commissioners will provide the proposed amendments to state lawmakers in the hope that they will be discussed at their next legislative session. Commissioner Betsy Benacencourages Padi’ssupporters to contact their state lawmakers.
“We need your help, contact your legislators please help us help Padi,” says Dr. Paul Gartenberg, Padi’s owner.
But it may all be too little, too late!
Benac says, “To try and have a legislative action to change state law could take years. It will be way too late for Padi.”
Gartenberg is anxiously awaiting the hearing officer’s decision about Padi. He says, “Unless public sentiment has somehow swayed their thinking, they’re pretty rigid.”
Dr. Gartenberg said if the hearing officer decides to put Padi down, then he will file an appeal.