Dog Labeled Dangerous, Euthanized for Defending Owner from Domestic Abuse

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A Minneapolis woman was forced to say goodbye to the dog that came to her rescue when the city chose to kill it on Saturday – despite a sanctuary’s offer to take it in.

Debra Peters said her pit bull, Putz, was only trying to defend her when it bit her ex-husband during a recent domestic dispute. The man spit in her face before kicking the dog. When he took a swing at Peters, Putz came to her defense, biting the abuser on the wrist and stopping him from attacking.

”(He) kicked Putz and I said, ‘What did you do that for?’ and he went to swing his arm at me and that is when Putz jumped up and got him on his wrist,” Peters said. “He was only protecting him and me.”

That selfless act of bravery would eventually cost Putz his life. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control was asked to assess the dog, and when they did so, they declared him dangerous and recommended that he not be returned to Peters. “What we see is that if it has bitten it has a great chance that it may bite again,” said Dan Niziolik with Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.

Minneapolis Animal Care and Control offered the following observations as justification for euthanization:

  • That Putz was territorial and guarded his cage.
  • That he didn’t sit on command.
  • That he didn’t respond to the vet’s touch. Ignored her patting.

Local media reports prompted two local animal groups to take interest in the case: one went so far as to offer Putz a permanent home at a sanctuary where he would never be offered for adoption, but the judge disregarded the offer and ordered that Putz be put to death.

On Saturday, that order was carried out, and the dog who gave everything he had to save Debra Peters drew his last breath.

Those involved in the case are furious, and believe that the city has made a mistake that will have lasting repercussions. “The dog had gone to protect his owner against an abusive situation and ended up at animal control,” said Colleen Meyer with Coalition for Animal Rights Education (CARE).

“What does this tell us about other women who are in abusive relationships?” asked Claudia Beckman. “Dogs are our best friends, and they can be protectors.”

30 thoughts on “Dog Labeled Dangerous, Euthanized for Defending Owner from Domestic Abuse”

  1. Seriously horrible decision making Minneapolis AC and the Judge. Shame on you for a poor solution! And you’ve probably overlooked the fact that the jackass ex will most likely hit again, if not worse. Please put him down before this happens. Same rational, right?

  2. Rot in hell, you evil judge. Evil and narrow-minded…everything a judge shouldn’t be.
    Are you an elected official? I hope that the citizens of your district remember this STUPID decision when you are up for re-election.

  3. For Christ’s sake, one of the reasons people HAVE dogs is for protection! This was unconscionably cruel and shortsighted. It’s another case of stinking middle grade bureaucrats flexing their muscle on ordinary people simply because they CAN – it makes them feel powerful and helps them get their rocks off. Boy am I angry!

    Deepest sympathy at the loss of a hero and a friend, for NO REASON but pettiness.

  4. This is awful, not only from the standpoint of killing a pet that should not have been killed, but from a domestic abuse standpoint. I am sure that man who was beating this woman made sure he did everything he could see that this woman’s pet was killed. The courts have a long history of not protecting women in domestic abuse. This is another. Shame on the courts. Shame on animal control.

    This woman has to now deal with the death of her beloved pet (who was her dead father’s beloved pet) on top of being a victim of domestic abuse. This death wasn’t needed. A sanctuary would’ve taken him. This is infuriating.

    • That judge probably just wanted his own legal recourse to go home and beat his own wife. Condoning abuse is as bad as perpetrating it.

  5. Most sighthounds will ignore strangers and a large number of them will shy away from a stranger’s hand. Just because all breeds are not Labs or happy go lucky Retrievers does not make them “potentially dangerous.” I agree, name the judge so he (has to be a male if you ask me) can be called out for this decision that was wrong in any way you look at it!

    RIP Putz, you didn’t deserve what life dealt you.

  6. I remember one case where the police dog bit the police officer when it should have bit the suspect, did they put that dog down, No they did not, so tell me what the difference is. That dog did not deserve that.


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