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Organizer: Advocates for San Antonio Pets (ASAP)
Beneficiary: Buddy, the Golden Retriever mix
83 yr old man in legal battle to save the life of his beloved 6 yr "Buddy". Funds needed to pay mounting boarding fees at ACS and for legal expenses. Due process has been a casualty in Buddy's hearing
A 6-year-old Golden Retriever mix named Buddy has been unjustly sentenced to death by Judge Daniel Guerrero of Municipal Court No. 4 despite a complete lack of evidence that he caused “serious” injuries” (as required by law). The dog, who is the constant loyal companion of an 83-year-old man, has no history of aggression and is known and loved by many as a sweet, well-trained dog. Both Buddy’s owner and the 9-year-old alleged victim’s mother were within 2-3 feet of the girl and Buddy – yet BOTH testified at the hearing that they did not actually see Buddy bite the girl. Although the evidence at the hearing showed that Buddy may have jumped up and scratched a 9-year-old girl (whose mother was not preventing her from yelling in Buddy’s face), her injuries could not be shown to be serious or permanent. The law requires serious ripping and tearing of muscle to allow the judge to euthanize a dog. However, Judge Guerrero refused to allow Buddy’s owners to have the victim’s “injuries” examined by an independent medical examiner, refused to allow a dog behavior assessment and dog bite analysis to be done, and refused to allow for a jury trial.
While we feel for the girl, she has made a full recovery. Even her father admitted on the evening news that she had made a full physical recovery only a month after the incident. Buddy should not have to pay for this with his life.
Buddy’s attorney, Michelle Maloney, has obtained a Temporary Restraining Order giving Buddy a stay of execution pending exhaustion of all appellate remedies. In the meantime, boarding fees of $30/day are mounting up at San Antonio’s Animal Care Services as Buddy has been held there since Nov 1, 2013 (and not allowed visitation by his family). Legal expenses are also accruing.
Please also sign the petition to District Court Judge Tina Torres, City Attorney Robbie Greenblum, and Mayor Castro to STOP THIS INJUSTICE!http://www.thepetitionsite.com/994/190/295/san-antonio-dont-execute-buddy-the-dog-he-only-has-3-days-hurry/
If you can help Buddy obtain justice and also help his family continue their fight to keep Buddy alive, please make a donation however large or small.
(Unless otherwise instructed by the donor, should donations exceed actual costs, any excess will be used for the next dog in need of justice.)
Buddy and his family thank you!Media coverage of Buddy's hearing on Nov 18, 2013:http://www.expressnews.com/news/news_columnists/gilbert_garcia/article/Due-process-a-casualty-in-Buddy-the-Dog-hearing-5059999.php?t=265719191c510e9f4ahttp://news4sanantonio.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/buddy-dog-gets-14-day-stay-execution-6498.shtml
Credit: Buddy's owners
by Andrew Delgado / KENS 5
Posted on January 25, 2014 at 2:55 PM
Updated today at 8:19 PM
See all 3 photos »
SAN ANTONIO -- Local activists and pet lovers have something to celebrate this weekend: 'Buddy the Dog' is back in the loving arms of his owners. Buddy was released Saturday morning from a veterinarian who had been caring for the dog since Jan. 16, when a judge ordered Buddy to be released from Animal Care Services. The Golden-Retriever mix and his owners, Homer and Kathryn Mojica, will not return to their apartment, however -- the same apartment complex where Buddy allegedly attacked a 9-year-old girl last year. Instead, the elderly couple and their pooch are staying with someone in a private home that was approved by ACS while they search for a new residence. Under the settlement that was reached between Buddy's owners and the city, the Mojicas must move to another home -- just one of several restrictions placed on Buddy via the agreement with the city. Michelle Maloney, who legally represented the Mojicas, said Buddy's new address would not be disclosed to the public, in order to protect the privacy of his owners. Maloney said the couple fears retaliation and would like nothing more than to move forward.
Updated photos of Buddy are expected to be released soon.
SAN ANTONIO — Buddy the Dog's long wait to be reunited with his owner is just about over.
About 6:30 p.m. Friday, Animal Care Services spokeswoman Lisa Norwood said the agency completed an inspection of the dog owner's new home and it successfully met all of the requirements of the agreement to release the 6-year-old golden retriever mix.
Buddy and Homer Mojica, his 83-year-old owner, have been apart since early November, when Judge Daniel Guerrero ordered the dog's euthanization for attacking a 9-year-old girl at a Northwest Side apartment complex in November.
Mojica said the dog was startled by the little girl when she screamed at him. But the girls' parents say the attack was unprovoked and required stitches and surgery to her face.
Last week, after weeks of negotiations between Mojica's attorney, Michelle Maloney, and city officials, the city agreed to release Buddy to the custody of Mojica's veterinarian until the last details of his release were finalized.
ACS is not releasing the new location to where the canine will be released.
“The terms of the settlement necessary for the release of Buddy were successfully abided by,” Norwood said.
But it was unclear Friday night if Buddy and his owner had already been reunited.
“It is our understanding they have free access to Buddy,” Norwood said.
The saga of Buddy the Dog comes to a close after days of supporters questioning why the canine hadn't already been released to his owner.
While negotiations were underway, more than 6,000 people signed an online petition for the dog's release. Supporters held a “Send Buddy Home,” rally Saturday at Alamo Plaza, seeking a change to the state law of “serious bodily injury,” and language, which allows dogs to be euthanized if they cause an injury resulting in severe bite wounds or severe ripping and tearing of muscle.
The girl's parents said their daughter suffered a torn eye duct, a gash on her cheek and a cut on the corner of her lip. They said she received 100 stitches to her cuts and a tear duct had to be mended during an hour and a half surgery.
As Mojica's attorney and city officials worked on the agreement, Mayor Julián Castro said “he believed an agreement could be reached that would allow Buddy to live.”
Even after the city backed down on their plans to euthanize them, it's taken almost a week to actually release him.
In an email on Thursday, animal activist John Bachman said ACS has been reminded of a paragraph that states the city agreed to release Buddy upon signature of the agreement.
“It seems apparent that the city, at least Animal Care Services and the city attorney's office cannot be relied on to act in good faith in this matter,” Bachman said. “This is not some contest and should not be treated as such.”
Norwood said they were waiting for the owner to meet the requirements of the agreement, which would address keeping the public safe from possible future incidents. Once all terms of the settlement were met, she said, ACS would release Buddy.
Norwood said the sticking point was where Buddy's owner new home would be. Supporters said management at Mojica's old apartment complex notified him that Buddy would not be allowed to return to the property.
“It's our understanding that the Mojicas' are in the process of looking to relocate, so once they do so, we'd be happy to schedule an inspection for them,” Norwood said, before Buddy's release. “We can come to their apartment, duplex or house, whatever the case may be. We want to do an inspection of the location to ensure not only that the location is secure, but to again make sure there's not going to be future events.”
Norwood said the agreement detailed several restrictions to be completed before Buddy could be released back to Mojica. Terms of the settlement for Mojica and his wife, Kathryn included: Buddy being kept in a secure enclosure when not on a leash, muzzled when outdoors and kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet when in public. As Buddy's owners, the Mojicas will have to keep liability insurance of $100,000 as long as he's their dog.
Posted on January 16, 2014 at 4:57 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- Buddy the dog has been released to a veterinarian.
The dog had been in Animal Care Services since November after a girl said the dog attacked her at a local apartment.
A judge ruled in December the dog should be euthanized.
Lawyers for Buddy's owners filed a temporary restraining order while an appeal on the decision is pursued.
The dog was released to a veterinarian and the city said it will continue to discuss a possible resolution with the owner of the dog.
The city also said the move is to ensure public safety pending an appeal by the dog's owner.
Buddy the dog finds new home during appeals
Buddy the dog will be in the care of a vet while his owners go through the appeals process.
The animal was saved from euthanization after the dog's owner got a restraining order.
Now, the city says the dog will remain in the care of a vet while the owners go through the appeals process.
An attorney for 83-year-old Homer Mojica announced last week that they had reached an agreement with the city that the dog would not be euthanized until all of their appeals had been exhausted.
A judge had ordered that Buddy be euthanized for biting a girl.
The Mojicas say it was just a scratch.
The city Thursday said the dog will be turned over to a vet in order to assure public safety.
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Buddy is alleged to have bitten a girl in an unprovoked attack.
Buddy, the San Antonio dog who has become a cause celebre, has been released into the custody of his owners' veterinarian, city officials said.
The Labrador mix has been living on borrowed time ever since a judge ordered him euthanized in early November. Buddy is accused of injuring a 9-year-old girl. Animal Care Services had taken the case to municipal court, where Judge Daniel Guerrero heard evidence and ruled that the dog needed to be destroyed. But his 82-year-old owner, Homer Mojica, argued that the dog, who has no history of aggression, had been spooked by the little girl. He and he and his wife would do whatever they needed to keep the dog alive, including moving from the apartment complex. For their part, the attorney for the parents of the girl said they want to ensure that the dog doesn't injure anyone else.
Negotiations have been ongoing between Mojica's attorney Michelle Maloney and city officials all week in efforts to find a way to save the dog. Thousands have signed an online petition in support of the dog and several hundred people are expected at a rally Saturday at Alamo Plaza, with a "Free Buddy" theme. Organizers say the rally will continue as planned.
Go to ExpressNews.com for the full version of the story
Animal-rights activists say public outcry has given a dog named Buddy another reprieve. But a local group is planning to work to bring about more awareness to state law that they say is too broad.
In a case that’s come to be known as "Buddy the Dog," the Golden Retriever’s owners are seeking a permanent resolution to keep him from being euthanized.
Municipal Court Judge Daniel Guerrero in December ordered that Buddy be put down after a November incident in which the dog was accused of attacking a little girl. The child reportedly needed 100 stitches and surgery to repair her eye. But the pet’s owners hold that Buddy was provoked and that the child’s injuries were not serious.
Local animal-rights advocate Vicki Jurney-Taylor organized a rally for Saturday morning to bring more attention what she said is a rubber stamp for euthanasia.
"We shall continue our campaign to make city leaders realize that it appears that every case that goes before Judge Guerrero results in a pet being euthanized," said spokeswoman Kathy Ames.
The City said in a statement Friday said that Animal Care Services is continuing to work with all parties to resolve the case. ACS officials told TPR that there were 4,571 dog bite cases logged in 2013, but only three rose to the level of serious bodily injury.
AS for Buddy's case, attorneys for his owners got an Exparte TRO -- a temporary restraining order -- that is keeping the dog alive until appeals run through the courts.
On Thursday, Animal Care Services released Buddy to his veterinarian, but the case isn’t over yet. The family is hoping for a permanent resolution with the city that will rescind the euthanasia order.
The Texas Health and Safety Code language specifies that even a provoked dog on a leash can be euthanized if the attack is severe.
Attorney Michelle Maloney, who represents the dog’s owners, is scheduled to speak at the event to raise awareness of the state law and to start a process to get the law changed.
The family of Buddy, a Golden Retriever mix, has been fighting for his life against the city of San Antonio since Buddy was detained November 1st for injuring a girl. The case is creating ill will with local animal rescuers, who are planning a protest in Alamo Plaza on January 18, and is a continuing source of bad publicity for the city of San Antonio. Last night, January 14, Mayor Julian Castro commented on the high profile case:
"It's important of course that there are consequences for the fact that a little girl got harmed. However, I'm confident that something can be worked out short of euthanizing the dog," said Mayor Castro. "I'm confident that another agreement can be reached so that the dog can live, and we'll go ahead and take a look at the way that these cases are handled in the future."
Buddy's family wants to spare Buddy, but they may not want an agreement with the onerous restrictions of a "dangerous dog" designation. The family says Buddy scratched the victim because he was startled when she screamed in his face. If Buddy is allowed to live, but is designated dangerous, his owners will have to carry $100,000 in insurance each year, muzzle Buddy when he is outside, and comply with other measures meant to protect the public. (statute)
There are questions about how and why the city is prosecuting this case. One local news station believes there is a double standard pertaining to who gets the full court press and who does not; because Animal Care Services was told not to comment on the case of an actor's dogs who escaped his yard and attacked a dog on leash.
Animal Care Services has commented on this case. The Director of Animal Care Services has characterized the injuries as quite severe (see Emergency Room photo above), although nothing this detailed has been submitted to the court:
"The 9 year old girl suffered a crushed tear duct, a large/long gash that laid open her cheek that started just below her eye and extended to her lip. The corner of her lip was also lacerated/torn and had to be sewn back on. In all, her injuries required over 100 stitches to her face. She was hospitalized and had to undergo surgery to repair the tear duct. There is still a drain in her tear duct and she may require additional surgery. According to her parents, she also has emotional issues to deal with following this incident."
The only medical evidence introduced in Buddy's case is the Emergency Room photograph at the top of this article and the testimony of an Animal Control Officer. Court watchers, particularly Gilbert Garcia who has followed this case closely, are puzzled that more medical records were not offered in evidence as well as testimony by a medical professional.
A photograph taken in court two weeks later would seem to show no evidence of any physical injuries or stitches having been recently removed.
Animal lovers, Buddy's family and friends, as well as Buddy, are currently waiting to hear the results of his appeal.
We've been following the case of a dog sentenced to death and apparently so has the mayor. While the future of Buddy the dog is still uncertain, it looks like the mission to keep him alive is ongoing.
Protest page on FacebookEditorial: Why the rush to kill Buddy?
SAN ANTONIO — A local animal advocate planning a protest Saturday says she's willing to be arrested to bring attention to the incarceration of Buddy the Dog and separation from his 83-year-old owner.
Buddy, whose life remains in a legal limbo after reportedly biting a 9-year-old girl last year, has been quarantined by the city since November.
The Alamo Plaza protest, set for noon Saturday, is organized by Vicki Lynn Jurney-Taylor. It has gained about 200 registered guests on Facebook.
“Trust me, we WILL make the National news once I am arrested in my wheelchair over this travesty of Justice!,” Taylor wrote on the event page.
City attorneys have pushed since December to have Buddy immediately put down, but reached an agreement with the attorneys for Buddy's owner Homer Mejica Friday to not euthanize him while other appeals are sorted out.
Public outcry including an online petition and calls to public officials erupted as Buddy and his owner's case made news.
As the Express-News' Gilbert Garcia reported last week, “Buddy has become a symbol for animal lovers, who often suggest ACS is more obsessed with posting impressive statistics than protecting animals.
Thousands of euthanizations still take place every year, hundreds of thousands of strays roam the streets and dog bites are on the rise, ACS figures show.
In 2012, 13,560 dogs were put to death, ACS figures show, down from 19,646 in 2011.”
BY GILBERT GARCIA OPINION COLUMNIST
Buddy’s life remains in legal limbo months after he injured a girl.
You know how football teams always rush to the line of scrimmage when they’re the beneficiaries of a bad call by officials?
The idea is to hurry up and snap the ball before the other team’s coach can throw down the red flag and challenge the call.
That’s exactly the way city attorneys have acted in recent weeks concerning the case of Buddy the Dog.
Buddy, a 6-year-old golden retriever mix, has been held in Animal Care Services’ quarantine facility at Brooks City-Base since early November. On Nov. 1, he injured a 9-year-old girl in the parking lot of a Northwest Side apartment complex.
Homer Mojica, 83, Buddy’s devoted owner, says Buddy was on a leash, and scratched the girl only after she got excited and screamed in the dog’s face.
The girl’s mother has insisted that Mojica was not holding Buddy’s leash, and that her daughter’s injuries — a cut on her lower lip, a gash on her right cheek, and a scratch across the lower lid of her right eye — came from bites (not scratches) that were unprovoked.
Despite conflicting testimony and a dearth of medical evidence, Municipal Court Judge Daniel Guerrero ruled last month that Buddy be euthanized. Mojica’s attorney, Michelle Maloney, kept Buddy alive by filing a temporary restraining order, pending an appeal.
Last Tuesday, as District Court Judge Cathleen Stryker pondered whether to extend the TRO during the appeals process, city attorneys were in a mad rush to snap the ball before their opponent could throw a red flag.
City attorneys filed an 11th-hour plea, challenging the district court’s jurisdiction in the case, and insisting that Maloney never properly served them with the TRO because she handed it to Assistant City Attorney Samuel Adams rather than the city clerk.
As a result, Adams tried to convince Stryker that the TRO should be immediately dissolved and Buddy should be destroyed.
These kinds of tactical games are hardly unusual among competing attorneys, but when you’re playing around in court with the life of a beloved family pet, you can’t help but look insensitive.
By the end of the week, however, city attorneys miraculously dropped all the gamesmanship, formally reaching an agreement with Maloney not to “euthanize or otherwise harm Buddy” pending “exhaustion of all appellate remedies.”
Why the sudden reversal?
You’d have to believe they felt some heat from local activists outraged by the handling of the case
— activists who emailed city officials, created a legal fund to help Mojica and his wife, Kathryn, and launched a petition drive that drew more than 1,000 signatures in 24 hours.
On one hand, those activists were moved by the specifics of the case: Mojica testifying about how he walked Buddy four times a day, fed him treats by the breakfast table while Mojica read the morning paper, and set up a blanket on his bed so they could watch television together.
Activists were also concerned, however, about the broader implications of the case. ACS generally pursues dog-injury cases under the city’s “dangerous dogs” ordinance, which requires proof that the dog was unprovoked, and allows dog owners to appeal a verdict. It also provides remedies (keeping the dog in an enclosure, muzzling the dog when outside, etc.) that protect the community while also saving the life of the dog.
In this case, however, ACS used the state’s controversial “serious bodily injury law,” which does not take into account whether there was provocation, and gives a judge carte blanche to have the dog euthanized, if serious bodily injury — a murky term, if ever there was one — is found.
Maloney intends to challenge the constitutionality of that law, even as she sits down with city officials to try to negotiate a fair solution to Buddy’s case. In an ideal scenario, this city would stop applying the serious bodily injury standard and start trying such cases in county rather than municipal court (which would provide for a jury trial rather than a hearing with a single judge).
On Friday, Maloney said the Mojicas see this case as “bigger than Buddy.” Hopefully, Friday’s agreement signals that the city is beginning to see it that way, too. firstname.lastname@example.org
Buddy the dog's euthanization blocked
A hearing to determine the fate of Buddy the dog was canceled Friday after the dog’s owners and the city reached an agreement to keep the dog from being euthanized.
Friday’s hearing was to decide whether a temporary restraining order obtained by Homer Mojica, the dog’s owner, would be changed to a temporary injunction.
In December the restraining order was issued stopping the dog’s euthanization. He was to be put down after allegedly biting or scratching a little girl in November 2013.
The attorney for the Mojica family said the family was happy about Friday’s move.
“They are thrilled that Buddy has some more time,” said attorney Michelle Maloney. “This has been unbelievably stressful for them.”
Maloney said they still plan to appeal the case. In the meantime, Buddy will remain in the custody of Animal Care Services.
“Our hope is that he would be released to the family or that he would be allowed to go to maybe a sanctuary or a rescue or even a veterinary office where we can see him,” Maloney said.
<img class="media-image" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/sites/default/files/kennel.jpg" alt="" width="680" height="384">
Homer Mojica, 83, was outside with his dog, Buddy, in the parking lot of his Northwest San Antonio apartment complex when they encountered two neighbors—a mother and her nine-year-old daughter. Buddy had never shown signs of aggression in the past, but this incident ended with the little girl suffering cuts and scratches on her face.
Those details are the only ones that aren't in dispute in the case of Buddy the dog, a six-year-old golden retriever. All the rest—whether Mojica had the dog on a leash, whether the dog was provoked by the girl screaming in its face, and whether the girl's wounds were caused by scratches from the dog's paw or from bites—is in dispute. Mojica and a neighbor who witnessed the incident say that the dog was leashed and provoked, while the girl's mother insists that it was an unprovoked attack.
Ultimately, though, most of those details aren't particularly relevant to Buddy's fate, which can be decided by Texas's Health and Safety Code, and its provisions for when and how an animal that attacks a person should be seized by the state and put down.
Under current law, even a provoked dog kept on a leash can be euthanized if its attack results in "severe bodily injury," which the statute defines as "severe bite wounds or severe ripping and tearing of muscle that would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek treatment from a medical professional and would require hospitalization without regard to whether the person actually sought medical treatment."
That very vague definition offers a lot of discretion—which isn't subject to oversight—to local officials who hold the lives of people's pets in their hands. In the case of Buddy, that meant that San Antonio judge Daniel Guerrero ordered the dog put down with minimal testimony, according to the San Antonio Express-News:
The city provided no medical testimony on the girl's injuries, relying solely on ACS investigator Jessica Travis, who never examined the girl and merely saw photos of her.In fact, the blown-up, close-up photos of the girl's face, taken after the Nov. 1 attack, were the stars of the city's case. It's worth noting, however, that the girl was also in the courtroom for Wednesday's hearing, and she seemed in good spirits, with scars that were barely visible.
The city provided no medical testimony on the girl's injuries, relying solely on ACS investigator Jessica Travis, who never examined the girl and merely saw photos of her.
In fact, the blown-up, close-up photos of the girl's face, taken after the Nov. 1 attack, were the stars of the city's case. It's worth noting, however, that the girl was also in the courtroom for Wednesday's hearing, and she seemed in good spirits, with scars that were barely visible.
Mojica's attorney, San Antonio animal rights lawyer Michelle Maloney, filed an emergency restraining order to prevent the dog from being euthanized in response to Judge Guerrero's November order, which was granted. That restraining order expired on Tuesday, though, before the appeal filed by Maloney could be heard, according to MySA.com (which has done a terrific job of covering the case):
Tuesday's hearing in the court of District Judge Cathleen Stryker was supposed to settle the question of whether the restraining order can be extended while Maloney appeals Guerrero's decision.But city attorneys challenged the jurisdiction of the hearing and attempted to have the temporary restraining order dissolved, which would have resulted in Buddy's immediate death.In the face of that possibility, Stryker extended the TRO for three more days, until a new hearing can settle the jurisdictional issue.
Tuesday's hearing in the court of District Judge Cathleen Stryker was supposed to settle the question of whether the restraining order can be extended while Maloney appeals Guerrero's decision.
But city attorneys challenged the jurisdiction of the hearing and attempted to have the temporary restraining order dissolved, which would have resulted in Buddy's immediate death.
It was unclear why San Antonio city attorneys were so active in pushing to have the dog put down before its appeal could be heard, but as of this morning, it appears that they've backed down, and Buddy's not at risk of euthanasia before the matter is settled in the courts. As MySA.com reports:
The city reached an agreement Friday morning with the attorneys for Buddy's owners, promising that the dog would not be euthanized or harmed while the dog's owners pursue an appeal of the Dec. decision to have the dog destroyed.
That's good news for Mojica, Maloney, and the dog. But what's coming next in this case suggests that the law under which Texas dogs can be seized and put down may be changing in any case.
Right now, the "severe bodily injury" statute offers few exceptions: If your dog attacks someone, unless it's a person over the age of eight years old who is trespassing on your property while the dog is in an enclosure, it's probably subject to the same fate that Judge Guerrero ordered for Buddy. (Another exception is if the person the dog attacks is in the process of assaulting you; police dogs are also exempt.) There are no exceptions for dogs that are provoked or acting in their own defense.
That's something that, according to Maloney, needs to change. MySA.com explains that there's a possibility that Buddy's case could lead to a constitutional challenge of the "severe bodily injury" law. Dog lovers will probably balk at Maloney's argument, which centers around dogs-as-property (and not furry bundles of love who are part of a person's family), but it's a challenge that needs to come:
Maloney has become this city's go-to attorney in animal-rights cases, and she's challenging the constitutionality of the “serious bodily injury” provision in an effort to save Buddy from being euthanized.In her Nov. 18 pretrial motion to Municipal Court 4 Judge Daniel Guerrero, Maloney argued that “pets are property in the eyes of the law” in Texas, and the “serious bodily injury” standard unfairly allows property to be taken from owners.Guerrero disregarded the argument, but Maloney is gearing up for an appeal that has the potential to reach the Texas Supreme Court.“The 'serious bodily injury' hearing is scary from a constitutional standpoint because it doesn't explicitly have a right-of-appeal in it, which means a municipal-court judge can come in and rubber-stamp ACS' actions,” Maloney said.“If someone comes up and kicks your dog 20 times and your dog bites, the city can still take your dog away and euthanize them,” she added.
Maloney has become this city's go-to attorney in animal-rights cases, and she's challenging the constitutionality of the “serious bodily injury” provision in an effort to save Buddy from being euthanized.
In her Nov. 18 pretrial motion to Municipal Court 4 Judge Daniel Guerrero, Maloney argued that “pets are property in the eyes of the law” in Texas, and the “serious bodily injury” standard unfairly allows property to be taken from owners.
Guerrero disregarded the argument, but Maloney is gearing up for an appeal that has the potential to reach the Texas Supreme Court.
“The 'serious bodily injury' hearing is scary from a constitutional standpoint because it doesn't explicitly have a right-of-appeal in it, which means a municipal-court judge can come in and rubber-stamp ACS' actions,” Maloney said.
“If someone comes up and kicks your dog 20 times and your dog bites, the city can still take your dog away and euthanize them,” she added.
The ultimate fate of Buddy will be written as this case continues—which is an improvement from the dog's situation as of yesterday, when it faced the real possibility of being put down before the legal fight to keep it alive was resolved. While no one wants dangerous dogs roaming the streets with impunity, it seems like a review process that kept courts from ordering animals destroyed when there are conflicting reports and questions about the severity of the injuries would be a prudent change.
by Andrew Delgado / Kens5.com
Posted on January 10, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Updated today at 2:47 PM
A judge ruled Friday that Buddy would not be destroyed whilst his owners pursued an appeal. Buddy has been in the custody of Animal Care Services since last November, after the dog allegedly attacked a young girl at a San Antonio apartment complex. On Dec. 11, 2013, a local judge ruled that the dog be euthanized. However, Buddy's owners' lawyer, Michelle Maloney, filed a temporary restraining order while an appeal on the December decision could be pursued. According to Maloney, Buddy had no history of aggressive behavior. Earlier this week, Judge Cathleen Stryker extended the temporary restraining order for three more days, granting Buddy a momentary breather after city attorneys attempted to have the restraining order dissolved.
Several grassroots efforts have sprung up to help Buddy and his owners.
One petition, 'San Antonio: Don't Execute Buddy The Dog!,' is seeking a permanent reprieve for the dog. It was set up online and has received over 2,100 signatures.
"In just 48 hours, we have collected over 2000 signatures, begging the courts to spare Buddy's precious life," Jennifer Blachly, a local activist told KENS 5. "We hope this helps the judge consider his decision carefully."
Blachly hopes the petition, and several calls to city officials, will result in Buddy being able to return home to his owners.
In addition, a fund has been set up to help with Buddy's legal costs.
SAN ANTONIO — The life of San Antonio's Buddy the Dog was at least temporarily spared Friday morning.
Only three days after city attorneys pushed to have the dog immediately destroyed, they reached an agreement with the attorneys for Buddy's owners, promising that the dog would not be harmed while the owners pursue an appeal of a December municipal-court decision to have the dog euthanized.
The 6-year-old golden retriever mix has been held in Animal Care Services' Brooks City-Base quarantine facility since early November, when he either scratched or bit a 9-year-old girl in the parking lot of a Northwest Side apartment complex.
Homer Mojica, Buddy's devoted, 83-year-old co-owner, said the dog was on a leash and scratched the girl after she scared him by screaming in his face. The girl's mother has testified that the attack was unprovoked, and said the girl's injuries - a cut on her lower lip, a gash on her right cheek, and a scratch across the lower lid of her right eye - were produced by bites, not scratches.
Buddy has been described by Mojica's neighbors as a friendly dog with no prior history of aggressive behavior, but during a December 11 hearing, Municipal Court Judge Daniel Guerrero ruled that the case met the state's “serious bodily injury” standard which allows dogs to be euthanized.
Buddy's survival since then has hinged on a temporary restraining order obtained by Michelle Maloney, the lead attorney for Mojica and his wife Kathryn.
At a Tuesday district-court hearing to determine whether the TRO would continue while Maloney appeals Guerrero's decision, city attorneys employed every possible tactic to get the restraining order immediately dissolved.
They challenged the jurisdiction of the hearing (arguing that the case should have gone to county rather than district court) and made an issue of the fact that Maloney served the restraining order directly to a city attorney rather than with the city clerk.
District Judge Cathleen Stryker, however, extended the restraining order for three more days until a Friday hearing could settle the jurisdictional question.
The Friday agreement, filed less than an hour before the hearing was scheduled, marked a major reversal by the city.
That shift seems at least partly because of public outcry over the city's apparent rush to shut down the case. Animal-rights activists emailed city officials, set up a legal fund to help the Mojicas, and, in one case, established an online petition drive that produced more than 1,000 signatures in a span of 24 hours.
Maloney said Friday she plans to appeal the constitutionality of the “serious bodily injury” law, which does not take into account whether or not the dog was provoked, and provides dog owners with no opportunity for appeal. She also plans to meet with city officials in an attempt to find a workable solution to Buddy's case.
Buddy the dog, who was ordered put down in November after he allegedly bit a child, has won a few extra days of life.
A hearing Tuesday on a motion to have a temporary restraining order stopping the termination of Homer Mojica’s dog’s life be replaced by a temporary injunction has been delayed until Friday.
Mojica, 83, wants his dog returned home.
The dog was taken into custody by Animal Care Services after he allegedly bit a child last November.
A restraining order was granted in December sparing the dog's life, but it expired on Tuesday.
“I thought he would be back and it’s just been bad all these days waiting and waiting,” said Mojica.
A legal procedural snag halted Tuesday’s hearing.
Mojica said his dog did not bite a child as she tried to pet him but rather scratched her face with his paw.
I implore you to intervene to ensure that justice is done. Poor Buddy has been impounded at ACS since Nov 2, 2013 - with his family DENIED access to visit him in spite of vistation hours listed on the ACS website!!! This is a family dog who has always been with his family since he was 6 weeks old and is now 6 yrs old........Sincerely,Advocates for San Antonio Pets
To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Re: “Due process a casualty in Buddy's hearing,” Gilbert Garcia, Dec. 13:
Please, Municipal Court Judge Daniel Guerrero, do not put Buddy down. Golden retrievers are not aggressive dogs. The child, by yelling in the dog's face, obviously scared the dog.
I had a big dog, and when kids ran toward her, I would tell them to keep away because children tend to step on dogs, yell at them and pull tails. Animal lovers think of the dogs as children, and what a horrible tragedy this would be for Buddy's 83-year-old owner.
Christmas is about love, caring and understanding. Please, Judge Guerrero, don't put Buddy down and please release him from that cold shelter cage and let him go home as soon as possible.
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