Arizona Judge Spares Mickey’s Life

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Last month we told you about Mickey, an American bulldog mix who was likely going to receive the death penalty for attacking a young boy who tried to take a bone out of his mouth.  The judge did not believe Mickey was completely at fault, and ruled that he is to live out the rest of his life at an animal sanctuary.

In February, Mickey was chained in his yard, chewing a bone, when four-year-old Kevin Vicente wandered over and tried to take the treat from the dog.  The dog attacked, and Kevin had to be taken to a hospital to have his face repaired.

“The baby sitter who was caring for the child then picked the child up and brought him to an urgent care center,” said Dr. Jeffrey Salomone, the Maricopa County Medical Center’s trauma medical director.  “When he arrived he was in shock, had severe injuries to his face; a lot of skin and fat underneath the skin pulled back on half of his face.”

Kevin will likely have to undergo surgeries for the next several years, and his family is shocked that there seems to be more support for Mickey than for their son.

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“We were not here to put a dog above Kevin,” said animal advocate Veronica Lee, who attended the hearing. “We were just here to make sure justice was served.”

Mickey is not entirely to blame for what happened.  The woman who was supposed to be watching Kevin at the time of the incident allowed him to wander through the open gate of a yard marked “Beware of Dog.”  Mickey is not neutered and was chained up.  Most attacks are from male dogs who are not neutered and are abused and/or left isolated.

Mickey was seized by Maricopa Animal Control, who allowed staff member Vanessa Martinez to remain employed after posting on the “Save Mickey” page:

“This is stupid – the owners surrendered the dog.  You guys doing all of this, won’t help any.  He’s going night night!!”

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But many others took Mickey’s side – over 67,000 on his page.  Vigils and rallies were held, and New York-based The Lexus Project got on board.

Municipal Court Judge Deborah Griffin ordered on Tuesday that Mickey not be euthanized.  But she did have stipulations:  the dog must be neutered, defanged, microchipped and must live the rest of his life in an animal sanctuary; he may not be adopted out.

“This whole case has been very, very distressing to me,” the judge said.

Mickey’s appointed trustee has 30 days to find him appropriate placement.  His fangs will not be removed, but humanely filed down to reduce the risk of severe damage should there ever be another incident.  However, blunting teeth will not curb aggression, and Mickey needs training and love to overcome whatever trauma has led him to become food- and human-aggressive.






10 thoughts on “Arizona Judge Spares Mickey’s Life”

  1. I am happy to hear that he will not be euthanized. It was a horrible situation for all involved. Hope he finds a happy place to live out the rest of his life. Hope the little boy will not be too traumatized as well.

  2. This is absurd.
    1. The dog is chained in a yard with a sign that says ” beware of dog”.
    Does this child live in this home or did he wander in from another property. The article does not tell us that.

    2. If the child wandered in from elsewhere, then you can’t fault the dog for his reaction to someone, even if it’s a small someone encroaching on his ( the dogs) territory. Most dogs will have a protective sense about their own belongings as well as their owners property. I have 3 Great Danes who, if you met them on the street would lick you to death, but god help you if you try to enter my home uninvited!!! I didn’t train them to be like that but as a homeowner I am quite secure. Don’t need an alarm system!

    It is not mentioned whether this dog is aggressive off of his property while on as walk or at the pardon a leash. If he is not, then he is just being a dog protecting his property (the bone).

    Don’t get me wrong, I am very sorry this child was hurt, and as an ER nurse I have seen devastating injuries caused by dogs, but in most cases they stem from and because of the stupidity of humans. Small children should be taught at an early age never to approach an animal that is not their own without an adult present and to never try to take something out of the mouth of one, whether it be bones, food or toys. If this is the “family pet”, I would find it hard to believe that someone in the household has never noticed a “possessive trait” in this animal which should have been communicated to the sitter (who by the way was obviously not doing her job watching the child) who ultimately is responsible for this child getting hurt.

    The owners and the sitter should be held accountable. Leave the dog alone, he is just being a dog whose personal space was being invaded by an unwelcome at the time human.

  3. I’m glad the dog was removed from the previous owners. Keeping a dog chained and isolated is very bad. It amounts to abuse as these animals are social and loving. Babysitter entirely at fault, not the dog. Perhaps he will have a good life at a sanctuary now where he can live free of chains and enjoy being loved and petted and taken care of. I hope so.

  4. That poor dog. I hope that useless excuse for a sitter gets what’s coming to them. And that damned stupid kid should be bloody taught how to read and shouldn’t have been left alone! (Ignore my comments about the kid if you choose, I’m not a kid kind of person. If it doesn’t have fur everywhere and a little nose that’s meant to be wet it’s not my kind of baby).


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