Judge decides pit bull will live, but there are restrictions

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PHOENIX -- A judge has decided that a pit bull that mauled a 4-year-old boy last month in Phoenix should not be euthanized.

Municipal Court Judge Deborah Griffin ordered the dog, Micky, to be defanged, neutered and microchipped.

Griffin also ruled that the dog may not be adopted or fostered. Instead, it will need to be placed in a facility. She gave attorney John Schill five weeks to look for a facility that will meet her criteria.

Schill with Schill Law represented Micky in court.

"I think we accomplished a goal,” Schill said. “We saved Micky. Micky is not going to be killed."

Griffin announced her ruling Tuesday afternoon after she declared earlier in the day that the dog was vicious.

She looked at pictures of young Kevin Vicente, taken after he was bitten in the face by the dog on Feb. 20. The attack left the boy with a broken eye socket and jaw.

The judge also heard testimony by Guadalupe Villa, the petitioner, who wanted Micky put down.

Thousands of animal lovers took to social media to support Micky, placing blame with the dog's owners and child's baby sitter. On Tuesday, supporters wore T-shirts to court that bore a paw print and said "Save Mickey."

A Facebook page called "Save Mickey" has more than 60,000 likes and a petition to spare his life had 50,000 signatures. 

But supporters say the campaign doesn't mean they value the dog's life above the child's.

"This is not Kevin versus Mickey," Schill said. "Having Micky killed is not going to take away Kevin's pain or injuries. The only thing this is going to do is kill a poor, innocent dog."

Pit bulls are viewed by some as a dangerous breed, a reputation their fans dispute.

Thousands have also rallied around the 4-year-old victim. A Facebook page has been set up for Kevin and a fundraising page has been set up where people can donate to help out with his medical bills.

Schill has until April 29 to find a facility that follows the judge's restrictions.

On Tuesday, Micky wagged his tail for 3TV cameras almost like he knew his life has been spared.

“He's put on weight since he's been here; I personally go in and give him treats every day,” said Melissa Gable, spokesperson for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

The people at animal control have had the legal responsibility of caring for Micky since he violently mauled Kevin Vicente. When it looked like Mickey might have to be put down the people at animal control were subjected to hate mail and vitriol from Mickey supporters.

“No one wants to be called an animal killer and there have been times in the last month that that's what I have been called, and that's not fun,” said Gable. “We’ve had people sneak in and take pictures of him and claim we're not taking care of him properly.”
Animal control is just happy to have a judge's decision handed down, and to be moving past Micky.
“There are a lot of pit bulls out there. Pit bulls get a bad rap right now, so consider saving one of their lives. We've saved Micky's, so now let’s move on and help some of these other dogs that need assistance,” said Gable.

Editor's note: Some documents spell the dog's name Mickey while others have it as Micky.