• How does Animal Services decide whether to euthanize a dangerous dog?

    By: Cierra Putman

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County family said its beagle, Jack, is on death row.

    The family said the dog had no history of biting people until he bit a veterinarian on the lip last month.

    The veterinarian said she wants the dog euthanized because she fears he could bite someone else. Orange County Animal Services staff recommended it, too.

    Kristine Farmer, the dog's owner, said she disagrees with the veterinarian and has hired a lawyer and trainer.


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    "I adopted him," she said. "He was a rescue from Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando."

    Farmer said she had taken Jack to the organization for a check up when he bit the veterinarian.

    The veterinarian said she received 25 stitches and might need another surgery.

    A report said she crouched down as the "dog was backing into a corner and accepting treats."

    "It's just a one-time incident that we don't think will ever be repeated," Farmer said. "We just want to give him that second chance."

    To get a second chance, a potentially dangerous dog must go through a detailed review.

    It is quarantined and evaluated.

    Jack was deemed dangerous and was recommended to be euthanized by staff.

    Pet owners has 10 days to request a hearing with the Animal Services manager.

    They can then appeal a ruling to a seven-person Animal Services classification committee.

    The final option is to take the issue to civil court.

    During this time, Jack and other animals are boarded.

    "By the time I even get my first hearing, I have racked up fees of almost $1,500," Farmer said.

    Jack's hearing is scheduled for later this month.

    "As remorseful as I am, I'm fighting for his life now," Farmer said.

    Animal Services said it follows state requirements when deciding if an animal is dangerous.

    It said Jack is considered dangerous because he bit someone and caused a severe injury.

    The county would not elaborate on how it determines when to euthanize an animal.

    In Orange County, owners of dangerous dogs must pay a $515 registration fee.

    The owner must also post signs at home to identify the dog as dangerous.

    The dog also needs a special tattoo, and while being walked, it must be on a leash and wear a muzzle.

    OCAS said it has euthanized six dangerous dogs so far this year.

    The agency said it euthanized five dangerous dogs last year and two dangerous dogs in 2017.

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