Fight to keep death row dog alive continues

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SARASOTA, Fla. - The legal fight to save two beloved dogs is underway.  The animals escaped from a window while visiting a home in Manatee County, and then bit a teenager 7 times.  They were set to be euthanized for the attack but their owner isn't giving up.

"I would just like to see the county take a set back and from the hard line stance they're taking and let the dogs go home to live out there lives," said David Allen, an animal activist who supports the owner's fight to save the animals. 

He's talking about Buck and Bill, the Australian shepherds being held at Manatee County Animal Services.  They're awaiting the day they will be put down after being sentenced to death for what officials call a vicious attack on a 13-year-old in December.  But, some disagree with the decision saying the law allows for leniency.

"Section 767.12 indicate that's if it is the first time that a dog has bitten or attacked a human, they can be declared dangerous and confined for the rest of there life," added Allen.

The support to keep Buck and Bill alive is growing, with many petitioning for the dogs to be released back to their owner.  There is even a Facebook page with more than 3,600 likes. 

Still, the county says the law is clear.  "As long as the court process is pending the statue mandate that the dogs remain in the counties custody. So, I want to stress that the county has followed the law to a 'T' and we are doing the things we are mandated by the statutes to do," said Manatee County Attorney Mitchell Palmer.

But the dogs owners disagree, appealing the decision to the county and then to the Circuit Court but both upheld the ruling.  And, now a third appeal is under way in the 2nd District Court of Appeals. In the meantime, allegations of animal neglect have surfaced because one of the dogs developed some type of growth.

But the county says that's far from true.  "A local veterinarian has pronounced these dogs to be in good shape as recently as this past Monday.  There is some type of a growth on one of the two dogs, but the veterinarian has labeled it as benign and further labeled it as not at all threatening and not an emergency situation," said Palmer.

But even with a good bill of health, Buck and Bill supporters say the animals should not be put to death.

"They attacked the young man, that can not be disputed.  But, they were doing what dogs do," said Allen.   "My hope and the hope of a lot of people who care about these dogs is that they will be allowed to basically go home to the family farm and live out there lives," Allen added.

That family farm is about two hours away. The owner has says if the county released the animals she will make sure they don't bite anyone ever again.

As for the victim's family they were unavailable for comment.