FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Friday was a homecoming for a South Florida pit bull that has been on Broward’s doggy death row for more than two years.

Mercedes the dog, who’d been sentenced to death for the November 2008 killing of a neighbor’s cat, was given a reprieve by the Fourth District Court of Appeals earlier this week.

The court ruled Wednesday that Broward County’s old doggy death penalty ordinance conflicts with state law.

“The law was, if a dog get out and killed another animal, a domesticated animal, another dog or cat, it’s designated dangerous and put down,” said attorney Jason Wandner.

Florida law allows dogs that attack other animals to be given multiple chances before being euthanized. Dogs that hurt humans, however, are put down after one infraction.

Wandner took the case to the appeals court and successfully got the law changed to the state law.

The dog’s owner, Ken Sladkin,  picked up his dog from the the Animal Hospital where she’s been held at her owner’s expense as the case played out.

Sladkin says he will take Mercedes to his Tampa-area home. He says he has spent $30,000 in legal and boarding fees trying to save the dog.

His god son Brian couldn’t be happier that Mercedes is coming home.

“If you own a dog, you know it’s like your companion, your kid, your best friend, and when it’s gone, it’s like a piece of you is gone,” Brian said.

Sladkin said when Mercedes gets back to Tampa, the dog will have an acre and a half of land to play on.

Comments (5)
  1. dmb says:

    A happy ending !!!!!!!!!!

  2. South Beach Guy says:

    That law is dumb. Sorry someone lost their pet to kill the dog for that infraction is not the answer. It’s just an animal doing what animals know to do.

  3. dbart91 says:

    Everyone is great with this…until their own pet gets killed, or their child is attacked. Dog owners must be held accountable for pets with “killer” instincts. Such animals should NEVER be able to roam freely, period. There should be very stiff penalties for careless owners.

  4. lindsey says:

    I love this ending! I think the law is very good!

    If an animal attacks another animal sucks for the one that died but animals are animals and they ALL have the attack instict! Even stupid hamsters!

    I got bit on the hand by a dog when I was 3 years old and the dog was automatically put dog because it attacked a human.

    I agree with that law! Multiple chances if it just gets another animal!

    I love my pit and I would anything to keep him around like that guy did!

  5. Concerned Citizen says:

    Mercedes lives on 1 1/2 acres, but is kept in a cage the majority of the time. She has escaped regularly from the cage. Ken is our neighbor and has told us that she has killed several of his cats. We fear for our neighborhood which includes elderly people, children and other pets. We were happy that she was gone for a few years and were disturbed when she recently returned. My fear is that this situation will end in a tragedy.

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