Buck and Bill, two Australian shepherds that attacked a teenage boy in 2012, were killed Thursday, a day after their court-ordered euthanasia drew protests that closed Manatee County animal shelters.
Karen Erskine, their owner, walked from the shelter crying after what she called the “hardest day of my life.”
Erskine had fought for more than a year to keep the dogs alive. She used social media to gather a ground swell of support. More than 16,000 signatures filled an online petition to save the dogs. A Facebook page created for Buck and Bill received approximately 13,000 likes.
But in the end, it wasn’t enough. A judge’s ruling Wednesday ordered the euthanasia take place no later than 11:59 p.m. Thursday but allowed Erskine’s personal veterinarian to perform the procedure.
In 2012, Manatee County Animal Services seized the dogs and deemed them dangerous after they bit a 13-year-old boy on a bicycle multiple times. Erskine maintained the dogs were just protecting her home and did not deserve to die.
More than 20 people gathered outside the shelter Thursday, tearfully joining hands and praying for the dogs as the euthanasia took place.
When Erskine walked out of the shelter holding the hands of the vet from Sarasota and his assistant, reality started to sink in.
"Buck and Bill have gone to God," she told the group. "They're no longer with us."