Dog Labeled Dangerous, Euthanized for Defending Owner from Domestic Abuse

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

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. This makes me very sad. My boxer would bite if someone attacked me and kicked her. Just a really bad and sad situation.

  2. According to the vet, she was not involved in the situation. Also according to MACC this was more than a simple domestic abuse case. They made a difficult decision but I support it.

  3. Please, make the judge’s name known so that he can be recalled. The whole situation was just wrong. So sad.

  4. When will people get it through their thick skulls that any living creature (human OR dog) will not react normally in a fear situation. That dog was probably stressed out, frightened and confused when these strangers were trying to “evaluate” him… My Labrador would have probably reacted in the same way – to my being assaulted and her being placed in a strange place. Fear can cause aggression – if the dog can’t retreat, its only other option is to try to protect itself.

    My heartfelt condolences to the owner and I hope Putz is in a happier place now. God knows he deserved better.

  5. The judge should of been put in the cage with the dog before he made his decision. Poor Putz, only doing what he knew was right. He’s definately is in a better place in doggy heaven.

  6. I hope she cleans that man who most likely abused her throughout their marraige and got away with it quietly. The poor Putz defended her til the end, and I’m quite sure the ex hubby will go to his grave knowing more than the ex-wife ever let on. I hope the ex-wife dies with another 2-legged best friend that beats the sh** out of the ex without getting caught! With loads of money, crippling the ex Putz murderer in debt for 7 generations. I’m sure she’ll use the money wisely to help other murdered 4 legged victims.

  7. Shame on the Court system for this one. Putz should have never ended up with animal control So, the abuser will probably get a slap on the wrist and the protector was sentenced to death. Really makes no sense. RIP Putz – you did not deserve your fate.


Leave a Comment