Updated:ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A family turned to WFTV when Orange County Animal Services locked up their golden retriever mix Buddy in the pound. The family says Buddy ran out the front door and startled a woman, who fell and broke her foot.
WFTV asked why Buddy is now declared a dangerous dog.
"Very friendly, happy, family dog," dog owner Darlene Tamburelli said.
The 18-month-old golden retriever mix played with her son Maurice and her other children, but they haven't had him home for a few weeks.
"Really sad. We think about him every day," Maurice said.
That's because Buddy is quarantined at Animal Services after what happened in front of their home to neighbor Maria Garcia. Garcia was walking her small dog when Maurice left the door open and Buddy ran outside.
"Buddy ran through the grass playing with her dog, not attacking," Maurice said.
He says Garcia tripped and fell. However, Garcia says, as she walked, Buddy jumped, growling, put his paws on her and pushed her over. She fell and broke some bones in her foot.
Garcia and Maurice were the only witnesses. Even though Buddy never bit her, Animal Services says, under county law, it had to declare Buddy dangerous because he "inflicted severe injury on a human being."
"His actions set in motion injuries Ms. Garcia sustained," said Katherine Lockett, Orange County Animal Services.
That means, to keep Buddy from being put down, the family must pay $515 a year to register him, place special fencing on their home, post dangerous dog signs and make him wear a muzzle outside. Now, they're just hoping they can win an appeal to be able to bring Buddy home.
The family has appealed to the Animal Services board, but that hearing isn't until the middle of next month. Even if that appeal is denied, they can still appeal to a county judge to try to keep Buddy off the dangerous dog list.
After WFTV aired a report Friday evening, several attorneys responded offering their help to the family.