This is one more letter to add to the many regarding the incident where Padi, a lab mix owned by a local veterinarian, bit off one-fourth of the ear of a 4-year-old boy. This is no little scratch; the boy requires reconstructive surgery.
Padi is currently being held by Manatee County Animal Services while hearings are held to determine his fate. I've seen many letters pleading for Padi's life. I've seen many pictures of Padi in the newspaper, but I've never seen a picture of the frightened 4-year-old boy who was bitten.
Does anyone ask or care how the boy is doing? How would you feel if this was your child, or your grandchild?
Lots of letters blame the boy or blame the babysitter, but I haven't seen anyone blame the dog's owner. If the owner was not a veterinarian, would we still be having this conversation? Aren't pet owners responsible for the damage and destruction caused by their pets? Where does the real fault lie?
The bottom line is that Padi should not have been in that office. Lots of people, lots of dogs, cats, etc. go in and out of the office all day. That sounds like a stressful situation for a dog, where it's easy for a dog to be overstimulated.
Why did the vet not consider this before bringing Padi to the office?
I'm sure that Padi is very lovable. Pets are very lovable and I love mine, too, but most people don't allow their pets to hurt anyone or cause damage to anyone's property.
Does Padi deserve a second chance? Yes, possibly. Does the owner deserve a second chance with Padi or another dog? I'm not so sure.