BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — The owner of “Padi” — the dog who bit a boy at a vet’s office and made headlines across the country when his life was spared — received some good news on Tuesday. No charges will be filed in a new accusation against Padi.
Padi was accused of biting a service dog in training on Monday. The incident happened at the Pet Clinic in Bradenton, which is the office of Padi’s owner, veterinarian Paul Gartenberg.
Padi was the inspiration behind a new Florida law that allows discretionary, instead of mandatory impoundment of dogs that severely injure people. In June of 2015, Padi attacked a 4-year-old boy, biting off part of the child’s ear, while inside Dr. Gartenberg’s office.
Witnesses argued the attack was provoked, but it didn’t matter. Under Florida law, Padi had to be euthanized. A lengthy and expensive legal battle ensued, and ultimately Circuit Court Judge Andrew Owens declared the dog bite law unconstitutional, sparing Padi’s life.
Padi made headlines again Monday after he was accused of biting a service dog in training.
Tammy Kritz, the caretaker of 4-month-old golden retriever “Obi-Wan,” brought the puppy in to get his final round of shots. According to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigation report, Kritz was in the waiting room and had Obi-Wan at her side on a leash.
As Dr. Gartenberg emerged from the back clinic area, his male black lab mix followed him. Padi was not on a leash nor restrained in any way. Padi approached and attacked Obi-Wan, biting him on the nose causing minor puncture wounds, according to the investigation report.
Kritz separated the two dogs and spoke with Dr. Gartenberg, who told her that Padi had bitten other dogs and a person in the past. Kritz said that at least one staff member and three customers witnessed the incident.
Two witnesses reported seeing Obi-Wan growling at other dogs and cats in the lobby when he first arrived.
Dr. Gartenberg told investigators that he did not see Padi nip at Obi-Wan, but then separated the dogs when he heard the growling. He also gave Obi-Wan ointment on his cuts.
“He was very upset about the incident and regretted any injury that may have occurred as a result of the two dogs coming into contact with one another,” the detective wrote in the investigation report.
According to the investigation report, Kritz told the detective that Obi-Wan was not assertive in any way when arriving at the clinic. She also said that she took Obi-Wan to her car after the incident and went back in to the clinic to ask what vaccinations Padi had received. When she left the second time, the staff followed her outside and asked for payment and Kritz told them she was not going to pay after what happened.
The detective also mentioned in the report that Obi-Wan has not completed service dog training and will not complete it for one year.
The detective concluded that there was no reckless disregard on Dr. Gartenberg’s behalf.
“This incident would appear to this investigator as nothing more than an unfortunate accident at this time,” wrote the detective in the report.
The case is being forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for further review.
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