Rufus, a 1 one year old Beagle in Orange Co, FL was surrendered by his owner to AC after he bit a kid in the face. The owner, Nicole West, was reportedly filling the dog’s food bowl when her 4 year old son came up behind the dog and accidentally startled him. Rufus bit the kid’s lip and sutures were required.
West says she was told the beagle would be “tested for aggression,” and if he was found not to be aggressive, Rufus would be put up for adoption. But last week, West learned that her former pet was scheduled to be euthanized because of the severity of the bite.
The West family never believed there was any chance that Rufus would be killed and when they learned otherwise, they retained a lawyer to fight for his right to live. The attorney has filed an injunction to stop the killing temporarily and the family has utilized social media to spread awareness of the dog’s plight. Not only is the local news following the story now, but the mayor is involved as well. She has issued a statement saying that the dog will be well cared for by the pound while the legal case proceeds.
One of the most troubling aspects to this case is the pound’s position that Rufus must be killed because FL state law says so:
Orange County Animal Services has gone on record, saying because of the severity of the injury, state statute says they must euthanize Rufus even if the dog is not found to be aggressive.
Read the FL statutes about dogs who bite for yourself. I am not a lawyer but what I see is an outline for a legal process to determine whether a dog is dangerous after his first bite. I see nothing that indicates the pound is required to kill any dog after his first bite, regardless of the severity.
The pound’s position makes me concerned not only for Rufus but for all the other dogs who may have bitten a person or animal in Orange Co. How long has the pound been misrepresenting the law with regard to killing dogs who bite? How many dogs have they killed already and how many are they going to kill under this false representation that the state law requires it? Many dogs don’t have an owner with an attorney to protect them from Orange Co Animal Services. Is the mayor concerned about that?
(Thank you to everyone who sent me links about Rufus.)