Broward commissioners move to re-write dog death penalty law
Broward commissioners made a move Tuesday night that could save the life of Brandie, a Husky on the county's death row for dogs.
They said they want to re-visit their strict dangerous dog ordinance, to make it more like the state's.
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Brandie was on a retractable leash when she killed Jack, a teacup poodle in Coconut Creek. She was sentenced to die under Broward's 2008 dangerous dog law. She's one of many; most of them are now dead, but a few had their euthanasia stayed because their owners filed legal action.
Broward's law, championed by former Commissioner Ken Keechl, allows one attack only before a dog is declared dangerous and can be put to sleep. Under the state version of the law, which allows two attacks before a dog is declared dangerous, Brandie would not be sentenced to die.
Brandie's friends and family were hoping the governor would pardon her. But a pardon might not be necessary.
"I don't think the county should be in the dog execution business,'' new Commissioner Chip LaMarca said.
Meanwhile, the county confirmed to me today that it has put 56 peoples' dogs to sleep after declaring them dangerous under the new law. Only two sit on "death row" awaiting legal decisions, Lisa Mendheim at animal control told me, saying they were Brandie and GiGi. I've been told there's at least one additional dog on Broward's death row, though: A dog named Mercedes who has been locked up in Deerfield since November 2008, the lawyer for that family says. He's expecting a court ruling in that case any day now.
Vice Mayor John Rodstrom brought up the issue, saying it wasn't fair and that the law in practice does not make sense.
"I think you’ve got to get this dog out,’’ Rodstrom said of Brandie.
He suggested the county require dangerous dog owners to post a bond and take the dog home.
The issue will be back in January. Meanwhile, Brandie's owners are paying $14 a day to board her in Sunrise. That's about $420 a month. She won't be put to death in the meantime, the county said.
"I think there is certainly an interest in getting away from where we are now,'' interim county attorney Andrew Meyers said Tuesday night. He said county staff also supports returning to state law.