Dog News

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.

putzDebra 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.”