2 prized dogs could be put to death Friday by Manatee County

jdeleon@bradenton.comFebruary 27, 2014 

MANATEE — Manatee County will euthanize two prized dogs Friday unless a late appeal comes though in time to save their lives.

The dogs, which belong to nationally ranked dog trainer Karen Erskine, bit a boy on Christmas Eve 2012. Erskine said the dogs, which have never had a previous incidence of violence, must have been provoked to do something so against their demonstrated natures.

Buck and Bill, two Australian shepherd dogs, were seized shortly after they escaped the home Erskine was staying in Dec. 24, 2012, and bit a 13-year-old boy three times.

On Feb. 19, the order for Manatee County to euthanize the dogs was upheld by Manatee County Judge Doug Henderson. Henderson, however, granted a 10-day stay for Erskine to file an appeal with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court.

Later that day, when Erskine arrived at the Manatee County Animals Services shelter to visit with Buck and Bill, she said she was outraged to discovered they had been transported to a veterinarian’s office to prepare for the euthanization, she said.

“My world ended when I thought they killed my dogs,” Erskine said.

County officials were convinced the hearing would go their way and the judge would sign the order to euthanize, she said.

Following the hearing, Erskine’s attorneys filed motions in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court for relief and an emergency motion to prohibit the euthanization of the dogs.

On Tuesday, Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan denied the motion for an emergency hearing saying it should be filed through the court scheduling system.

A motion for a temporary injunction was filed Thursday in Manatee County Civil Court. It has not yet been ruled on and if the ruling comes after the dogs are put down it will be moot.

Erskine’s attorneys have argued the county did not follow proper procedure to declare her dogs dangerous and the animals never hurt anyone before.

“I’m standing for the truth. I’m standing for what’s right,” Erskine said. “They have spent so money much of county resources on killing my two dogs.”

Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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