Padi the dog won't face euthanization.
The Bradenton pet, owned by a veterinarian, could have been put down after biting a boy on the ear in his owner’s office June 4. An online campaign to save the 4-year-old lab mix went viral.
BACK STORY | Padi the dog's fate in judge's hands
"It was a great relief. I had to ultimately believe in my heart that this was going to end well for Padi," said Dr. Paul Gartenberg outside his Bradenton clinic Thursday afternoon just hours after a judge issued his ruling.
Judge Andrew Owens called part of the state’s “Damage By Dogs” statute, which allows for a dog to be put down following an attack that causes severe injury, unconstitutional.
Padi was confiscated by Manatee County Animal Services Division after the attack. State law would have require Padi to be put down “upon mere proof that the bite caused by the dog in question resulted in severe injury,” the order states.
“It has been suggested to the Court that Padi’s bite may have been provoked by the actions of the child, but such facts – even if true – would have no bearing on the outcome of the hearing…,” the order states.
The judge called the portion of the statute that would have allowed Padi to be put down “arbitrary and unduly oppressive” and says it allows animal control workers to destroy a dog without allowing them to decide the severity of the consequences for the dog's actions.
"I suppose there are some dangerous dogs that the public needs to be protected from, but obviously Padi is not one of those dogs," Gartenberg told reporters.
Pati is 100-percent free with no restrictions, however, Dr. Gartenberg is now longer allowing him to roam free and greet people in the clinic as a precaution.
A civil case filed by the child's family is still pending.
Correction: The original version of this story stated Padi was going home today. The dog was actually released to its owner earlier this year as the case continued.