Bradenton dog Padi will be released to owner – for now

File photo: Padi with his owner, veterinarian Paul Gartenberg.

BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) – A popular Bradenton dog that was set to be euthanized has been given permission to go home. ‘Padi’ has been in the custody of Animal Services since June after the dog attacked a 4-year-old boy.

On Friday a judge ruled that Padi can be released to its owner, veterinarian Dr. Paul Gartenberg. The dog is set to be given back to its owner early Saturday morning at an undisclosed location. However, the legal battle is not over.

This case has garnered international attention because many believe the attack was provoked. But, under Florida law, Padi was supposed to be euthanized anyway. “I know dogs aren’t people, but you really are innocent until proven guilty,” said Charlie Britt, the attorney for Padi’s owner.

County commissioners believe the state statute for dog bites is unconstitutional. The county has filed a motion, asking a circuit judge to weigh in. And while everyone waits for a decision, Padi can return home. “This dog could’ve been held … for months, if not years waiting on a court decision to come out,” Britt said.

Gartenberg cut short his vacation in the Keys to rush back home. “I always thought that tears of joy was just an expression but I actually choked up. It was quite emotional for both me and my family,” he said.

Manatee County commissioner Carol Whitmore is thrilled at this turn of events. “The county commissioners are going to not support the dog being put down, and I can probably guarantee that,” she said.

While the circuit judge weighs in on the statute, many hope Padi’s story can set a precedent. “Maybe this will be relied upon by our state legislators to change the law to where we don’t ever have this issue again,” Padi said.

There will be restrictions on Padi’s release. The judge ordered that Padi can only remain at Gartenberg’s home or at the clinic. Padi can only be around children if an adult is present.

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