Friday, April 26, 2013
Rufus the Beagle: The Campaign Continues
Campaign continues to save pet beagle
Family uses Facebook rescue dog
Posted by: O Jefferson
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —
Life has been a whirlwind for Rufus, the beagle mix who has become the talk of the nation.
Pleas are pouring in from around central Florida to save Rufus.
Rufus, who has his own attorney, was sentenced to be put down because he bit a 4-year-old boy in the mouth, resulting in a wound that required stitches. While that order is on hold, WESH wondered what a dog trainer who deals with dogs daily thinks about the Rufus cause.
Michelle Meredith reported live Friday from Orange County Animal Services where Rufus continued his stint on isolation row. Meredith asked John McGrath, who has been training dogs for 20 years, about Rufus, and if he should be euthanized.
"No, I think he needs a second chance," McGrath said.
McGrath added that Rufus is young and doesn't have a history of biting. He said Rufus could be trained or adopted by a family with older children or no children.
McGrath said that if Rufus were a pit bull, he would not stand a chance of being rescued from doggie death row.
"People have that stigma," McGrath said. "You see a cute, little dog being caged -- he bit a child -- it is downplayed. If that was a pit bull, and it did the same thing with four stitches, we wouldn't be having this conversation."
The discussion about Rufus' fate started earlier this month when he bit Nikki West's son. Rufus was being fed when the bite occurred, and the wound required stitches.
Under Orange County guidelines, that is grounds for a dog to be euthanized.
"He's a good puppy," West said. "We had an accident. That doesn't mean you just kill him."
The family has fought back through Facebook and filed an appeal. Now a judge will decide the dog's fate.
Rufus' attorney said his canine client has a respiratory infection, so he called Mayor Teresa Jacobs to ask that the dog be moved out of the shelter.
"(We want to move him) into a county-approved rescue, and we have actually isolated several rescues that would take Rufus at this point," said attorney Jaime Halscott.
The staff at the county shelter said Rufus is being treated with antibiotics to help with his infection.
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