Florida veterinarian Paul Gartenberg performed surgery on a stray dog who had a rusty chain embedded in his neck. Although his intention was to find a home for the dog, he ended up falling in love with him so made the dog part of his family. He named him Padi, due to the padlock on the embedded chain he was dragging when found.
Padi came to work every day with his owner and was beloved by hundreds of clients at the vet clinic. In June, a 4 year old boy was interacting with Padi at the clinic. At some point, Padi attempted to hide under a desk but the boy reportedly followed him into the tight space, lunged at the dog, and Padi bit off the child’s earlobe. Padi was seized by Manatee Co Animal Services for killing:
The state’s “Damage By Dogs” statute says that a dog that bites a person without provocation is to be “immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time, or impounded and held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.”
Dr. Gartenberg hired an attorney to fight in court for Padi’s right to live. After 11 weeks, Dr. Gartenberg received permission from the court to bring Padi home from the pound. But the legal battle has continued, with Padi gaining support from many animal activists.
The legal argument being made on behalf of Padi is that the Florida statute requiring automatic killing is unconstitutional as it robs the owner of his due process – that is, a chance to offer a defense by explaining to a judge the circumstances of the bite. There is a hearing scheduled in Manatee Co for this afternoon at 2:00 during which the judge could decide that the statute is unconstitutional. In that case, Padi would be allowed to live. State legislators are already working on amending the law.