Dog that bit teen spared death sentence

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. -- The Queen Creek family of an American bull dog that bit a teenager was able to bring their pet home Thursday, nearly ten months after the dog was taken from their custody.

Moby's family has been fighting the dog's court-ordered death sentence since October of last year.

The month prior, Moby bit a 17-year-old family friend as she was trying to squeeze through a crowded doorway.

"He just gave her a nip on the back of her leg, a good little nip," Moby's owner Rod Browning said. "And then flew upstairs. He was shaking on the bed. He knew something bad happened."

The teen suffered puncture wounds to her thigh as a result of the bite that required several stitches.

Moby was initially quarantined, but a short time later, a judge deemed the dog vicious and ordered he be euthanized.

Browning, who was representing his pet in court, immediately asked for an appeal, which was unprecedented in a case like this in Gilbert Municipal Court.

The dog spent months at Maricopa County shelters before he was transferred to the AZ Pet Resort in Tempe. The family was able to visit while the dog was in the county shelters but for months was not able to have any direct contact with their pet. They say the dog lost dozens of pounds and began to act withdrawn.

"[My wife] would cry every time she went there for six months," Browning recalls.

Once Moby was transferred to the pet resort, his mood and behavior improved, Browning said.

An online crusade on Moby's behalf began. A Facebook page campaigned for Moby's freedom and an account raised thousands of dollars for the dog's housing and legal fees.

Attorney John Schill, the same lawyer who recently won the case of Mickey the pit bull that attacked a four-year-old boy, agreed to take on the appeal.

This week, they received word that Superior Court overturned the Municipal Court ruling and Moby was ordered released.

"I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat shocked that we’re able to get Moby out," Schill said, who calls the judge's decision "very rare."

As part of his conditions of release, Moby is not allowed to leave his backyard and he is not allowed to have any contact with people outside of his family.

The Brownings are just happy to bring Moby back home after all this time.

"We’ve had a tough year and this is a highlight," Browning says. "It’s huge. It couldn’t be any bigger for us to get him back."