Brandie the dog has received the canine equivalent of a last-minute death row call from the governor. Rather than being put down for biting to death a toy poodle, she'll be released to her owners later this week.
That's thanks to a deal cut last night by Broward County commissioners, who realized the folly in their zero-tolerance vicious-dog law. Brandie had been on doggy death row since May as her owner, Lon Lipsky,
fought the county in court.
Lipsky was ecstatic today that a deal had finally been cut. "My wife and I -- it's been a rough seven and a half months. We've put blood, guts, and tears into this."
The county and Lipsky's lawyer, Fred Kray, are still negotiating terms of Brandie's release. It appears she'll be required to be microchipped, her owners will have to put her in a muzzle while on walks, and all lawsuits will be dismissed. Lipsky said he's willing to live with such restrictions if it means Brandie will be out of a cage.
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As for commissioners, Lipsky figures they wanted to avoid the political backlash of another dog dying due to the ordinance. Already, 56 dogs have been put down after being deemed vicious.
"They're just trying to avoid a black eye," Lipsky said. "I mean, 56 dogs in a year and a half? Are you kidding me?"
The county will also free Gigi, a dog owned by Thomas Austin, who had also appealed to the courts to save his dog.
The ordinance itself likely won't survive much longer. Commissioners indicated they may change the law in January, and even if they don't, it may not beat a challenge now pending in the Fourth District Court of Appeals.