Tags: florida | dog | bite | law | unconstitutional

Florida Dog Bite Law Unconstitutional; Padi the Pup Saved

Image: Florida Dog Bite Law Unconstitutional; Padi the Pup Saved
(WFLA)

By    |   Friday, 18 Dec 2015 02:21 PM

Florida's dog bite law has been declared unconstitutional, a welcome ruling for Padi the pup who was set to be put to death for biting a child's ear over the summer.

The ruling by a Sarasota judge will spare the 4-year-old Labrador mix that reportedly bit the child and caused injuries that required stitches and reconstructive surgery. Under the statute in question, dogs that cause severe injuries are to be euthanized "without regard for the circumstances of the event," the Bradenton Herald reported.

The circumstances are important, Padi's owners argued, because, by their account, Padi had retreated to a corner of the Pet Clinic in Bradenton and was followed by the child before the bit. There are conflicting reports about whether the dog or the child lunged first, according to the newspaper.

On Monday, a judge ruled the dog bite law unconstitutional and said allowances should be made for the circumstances surrounding the bite.

"[The statute] results in an unconstitutional delegation of discretion in animal control authorities insofar as the statute provides animal control authorities no guided authority to select the severity of consequences for a dog's actions," Judge Andrew Owens wrote in his ruling.

Paul Gartenberg, the owner of the Pet Clinic and Padi's owner, said he is pleased with Owens' verdict.

"It was [a] great relief," Gartenberg told WFLA-TV. "I had to believe in my heart that ultimately this was going to end well for Padi, but until you get that final ruling you don't know. We're hoping things are going to change in Manatee County."

Manatee County commissioner Carol Whitmore said that "common sense finally prevailed" in the case, added that she believes the ruling gives the county attorney and county staff the authority to decide dog bite cases on an individual basis.

"This gives everybody in the state of Florida, every county, the same information on how we interpret these types of cases," she said, according to the television station.

Gartenberg still faces a civil lawsuit filed by the family of the child attacked, which claims that the child underwent several surgeries after the dog bite.

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Florida's dog bite law has been declared unconstitutional, a welcome ruling for Padi the pup who was set to be put to death for biting a child's ear over the summer.
florida, dog, bite, law, unconstitutional
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2015-21-18
Friday, 18 Dec 2015 02:21 PM
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