A now-famous Manatee County dog is featured in the January edition of The Florida Bar Journal.
Padi, a male Labrador mix that inspired legislation that allows discretion on whether to put dogs to death that cause severe injuries to humans, will be featured in the article titled “Padi-Waggin: The Tail of One Dog’s Journey from Death Row to Legislative Inspiration for Dog Bite Due Process.” The article was written by Robert Eschenfelder, the former chief assistant Manatee County attorney.
“This article describes how the confluence of a local government dog bite citation, community concern, a dog-owning legislator and a circuit judge allowed a dog owner to save his dog and ensure future dog owners would be afforded a more traditional due process appeal prior to their dog’s being sentenced to die for seriously injuring a human,” the journal states.
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Last summer, Padi bit a child’s ear when the child and his baby sitter were visiting the Pet Clinic in Bradenton, which is owned by Padi’s owner, Paul Gartenberg. All parties generally agree that Padi had gone into a corner of the office to get away from the child, and the child followed. Accounts differ on whether the child lunged at Padi, or if Padi lunged at the child first.
Before the change in statute, Florida law mandated that Padi be euthanized without regard for the circumstances of the event because the injury was considered severe and required stitches and reconstructive surgery.
We all learned something and we got the state law changed. Manatee County, at least, was able to do a good thing and make it clear for all 67 counties.
County Commissioner Carol Whitmore
“It was a terrible situation,” Commissioner Carol Whitmore said Friday. “At least it’s now clear to help the other 67 counties when they have this kind of situation. We all learned something, and we got the state law changed. Manatee County, at least, was able to do a good thing and make it clear for all 67 counties.”
The Florida Bar Journal article has nine subsections: The Backstory; The Incident; The Dog Death Penalty Statute Circa 2015; The Quasi-Judicial Hearing; The 2015 Statute Comes Under Fire; Every Day Has its Day Padi’s Was in Court; The Argument Against the Statute; The Padi Court Rules; and Legislature Reacts and Creates a New Statutory Scheme.
“Manatee County, as is the case in many communities around the world, has a significant number of citizens who care very deeply about the welfare of domestic animals,” Eschenfelder writes in the article. “With the modern tool of social media at their disposal, soon many local citizens were appearing before the county commission, each meeting advocating for Padi, and communications were pouring in from other states and counties doing the same.”
While Gartenberg, Padi’s owner, hadn’t seen the article yet, he said they are proud of Padi.
“He suffered slings and arrows, so to speak,” he said.
On Friday, Gartenberg said Padi was in his “office napping right now.”
“Padi is doing great,” he said. “He’s a sweet guy.”
The Padi case has had a ripple effect as Arizona and other states have called Manatee County to rewrite state statutes, Gartenberg said.
“It’s having an impact nationwide,” he said.
Gartenberg hopes to write a children’s book “as soon as possible” about the incident to prevent future ones.
“I think that was the root of the problem: This child didn’t know how to interact with the dog,” he said.