SUNRISE (CBS4) – Two dogs are off of Broward County’s doggie death row tonight and back home with their owners after the county agreed to settle lawsuits brought by the animals’ owners.
It also appears the ordeals endured by the owners may lead to a change in the county law regarding dangerous dogs.
Lon Lipsky arrived at Welleby Veterinary Center in Sunrise Friday evening to pick up his husky, Brandie and take her home. It’s been 7 months since Brandie was taken away.
“We battled the county and we won,” Lipsky said.
Lipsky had Brandie on a leash when she bit an unleashed teacup poodle earlier this year and killed the dog. Under the county’s one bite law, Brandie was ordered to be put down.
But Lipsky and his family fought back. They moved Brandie to a vet office which cost them $7,000 for 6 months and also filed a lawsuit against the county.
The county settled the suit and agreed to release Brandie.
“I said we’re going to do this not only for us but for every citizen in Broward County,” Lipsky said.
Tom Austin also brought his dog, Gigi — a labrador mix – home for the first time in 7 months Friday. Gigi was also on a leash when she bit a leashed Yorkie in her family’s Weston neighborhood earlier this year.
“It’s really like losing a family member so it’s like being reunited with a family member,” Austin told CBS 4′s Carey Codd.
Austin also sued the county, saying the law was unconstitutional.
“I think they should have a two bite law in Broward County like they do in nearly every county in the United States,” Austin said.
Austin said Gigi simply reacted by biting the Yorkie. Austin said she’s never bitten anyone before — animal or human. He believes the county law does not adequately protect animals who are provoked.
“That doesn’t meant they’re a dangerous dog,” he said. “They do it twice there’s probably a reason to believe they’re a dangerous dog.”
County Commissioners John Rodstrom and Chip LaMarca support a change in the law.
“You’re considered to be guilty until your day in court,” Rodstrom said. “There are ways to protect the public without putting the dog to sleep.”
“it’s sad and it’s a result of a knee jerk reaction to create a new law,” Lamarca said. “And I think that law we’ve seen that the county commission has said let’s look at it and change it.”
Rodstrom expects the county commission to revisit the ordinance after the first of the year. He said over the past few years more than 50 dogs have been put down under the ordinance.