Ok, now I basically don’t do ‘dog bite’ stories. There’s usually enough of a media circus when someone is bitten by a dog and from my point of view, the blame should fall squarely on the dog owner or the victim.

There are too many irresponsible dog owners out there who either don’t train their dogs or train them to be vicious, who let them run free, who can’t control them and ultimately when someone is bitten, it’s not the dog’s fault but they will pay the price. Or its the fault if ignorant people who become the victim of a dog bite. Adults or children alike may tease or provoke a dog or enter a dog’s territory.

The bottom line is that dog bites are the fault of humans for one reason or another and it is most often the dog that pays the ultimate price, their life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a great deal of sympathy for all the victims, but the dogs are the victims that cannot speak for themselves and the only voice they have are those who speak out on their behalf and that is what I am doing today, speaking out on behalf of a dog that has been sentenced to death through no fault of his own. And this is not the usual ‘dog bites man’ story either. If you take the time to read through, you’ll understand.

This story comes to us from Sarasota, FL

This week, a judge in Sarasota ruled that a two-year-old German Shepherd named Zeus should be put down, after the dog left a Verizon repairman peppered with bites and bruises.

For his owner, Gilbert Otero, Zeus is more than a dog.

After serving in Vietnam and in the Gulf War, Otero has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and recently found out he has colon cancer.

Through all his medical woes, he says, Zeus is the best medication he’s ever had.

“To me, he just gave me that one chance again everyday. I get up, he’d be there in the morning. He wakes me up like, ‘hello!’”

Even on some days when Otero didn’t want to get up.

But then, one morning in March, Zeus apparently took his role as protector a little too far.

A Verizon repairman showed up to the Otero’s house on Amalfi Road in Nokomis, and after working outside, the man told Otero and his wife Ana that he needed to come inside.

Otero says he told the repairman to wait so he could put Zeus away first.

“But he said, ‘Oh, I like dogs.’ I said ‘okay!’” Otero recalled.

So Otero stood with the repairman at the front door, opened it up and allowed Zeus to sniff at the man to get acquainted.

Otero says the dog put his paws on the repairman’s chest, wagged his tail and then dropped down on all fours.

At that point, Otero says, the repairman pulled away, and he says that’s what made Zeus snap.

The police report says the repairman, 23-year-old William Flick of Northport, suffered several injuries, namely a tear to the left knee, a puncture and tear to the right arm and punctures and scratches on his back.

Flick went to Venice Hospital, where he was bandaged, but his injuries didn’t require any stitches. Still, Flick says he still had to take a few days off work.

Zeus was immediately taken to Sarasota County animal services, and he’s been there ever since.

The Oteros appealed a magistrate’s decision that Zeus should be euthanized.

Then, on Tuesday, yet another unfavorable ruling for the Oteros: a county judge again ordered Zeus be put down.

A spokesperson for the Sarasota County sheriff’s office, which oversees animal services, says they plan to uphold the judge’s euthanization order.

But as of Wednesday night, the spokesperson said, Zeus was still in a holding cell.

The Oteros have already spent $4,500 in legal fees and say they’re out of money and nearly out of hope.

Now if you take the time to look at the original story from Tampa10.Com, read the comments, at the time of this writing there were over 70 of them, all in total support of Zeus and the Oteros except for two comments posted by the same person.

The comments all run along the same line that Zeus should not be put down, that he was doing his job and protecting his owner and property, that the repairman was warned and eneterd the home of his own volition, etc. There were offers to help the Oteros and frustration and hurt from the Oteros themselves.

Here is a typical comment;

The incident took place within the home and the dog’s owners wanted to put the dog up before the repairman entered. He should have waited for them to do so. They know their own dog. It was not for the repairman to say otherwise and he was injured through his own negligence.

No. I could see putting the owners on notice that the authorities will have to take action the next time the dog injures someone, whether in their home or not, but they did attempt to keep the dog out of the repairman’s way and the repairman out of the dog’s way.

In this case, the repairman is responsible for his own injuries. I wouldn’t approach *any* dog without the owner’s knowledge and approval, much less enter the dog’s home. The dog probably picked up on its owners’ reluctance to let the man in and reacted to the first gesture that could be considered aggressive.

And this from Ms. Otero – ‘Zeus’ Mom;

I would like to thank everyone on this post for all their support. I just recieved a call from our attorney and he said that, basically, Zeus does not have a chance even if we appeal this. It would be tried in circuit court next and he said that the next judge will just look at the fact that the man was “bitten” and we will loose again. I just can’t believe that. The fight now is with animal services of Sarasota. I’m sick to death about all of this. My husband is very depressed and I’m trying to just keep him going. I just don’t know what else to do. We have had Mr. Matthes from the Sarasota in Defense of Animals on our side and he is an angel from God! He is mortified at what is happening. All we can do now is pray that a miracle happens for our baby. Thank you again to all of you for your love and support for us and Zeus. God Bless you!

There are pleas for Verizon to step in and try to do something to save this dog’s life and many, many of the comments promise to cancel their Verizon service if they don’t.

There is one comment that lists, ‘The magistrate judge was Susan Chapman and the other judge was Phyllis Galen who upheld the decision’

Ana Otero also comments; ‘The sheriff’s department told me to deal with the Animal Control people instead of calling the Sheriff. The contact number I have is for a Leutenant Kasper at animal control. They are hell bent on putting him down. They have had him locked up since March 22 and I have not been allowed to see him. You can look up the number for the Sarasota Animal Services… I spoke to him yesterday and he is upset because he feels that the animal rights people and the media should not be involved…..RIGHT! I did not argue with him because it will do no good. It has to be a court order.’

It sounds to me like some people need to get involved and see if there can be some justise for Zeus bacause if this dog is put down it will truly be a travesty!!!

Please comment, let me know what you think? Get the word out on this!!!

UPDATE 7/27/07 –ZEUS TO BE SET FREE!!!

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