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The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Bradenton, FL is, once again, investigating a bite incident involving Padi, a dog who garnered the attention of tens of thousands of supporters when he bit a 4-year old boy last year.
Padi is owned by Dr. Paul Gartenberg, a veterinarian at the Pet Clinic, and is allowed to roam freely in the clinic every day. Padi was nearly sentenced to death after biting part of an ear off of a 4-year old boy in the clinic last June, but after an extensive investigation and international support, Padi was released back to his owner when it was determined that Padi was acting in self-defense after being provoked by the child.
Now, Padi and his owner, Dr. Gartenberg, are back in the hot seat after another bite incident at the Pet Clinic, this time involving a Golden Retriever in training to become a service dog who was at the clinic for his puppy vaccines.
Obi-Wan, a 4-month old Golden retriever, had just gotten his shots and was exiting the exam room when he excitedly tried to greet Padi, who was walking around off-leash.
“I thought it was just going to be a normal meet and greet, and the dog basically attacked him,” Tammy Kritz, who is training the puppy through New Horizon Service Dogs, told Fox13. “”Padi bit him several times and latched onto the nose. I pulled the dog away from the puppy.”
Dr. Gartenberg says Padi simply nipped at the puppy, but Kritz (and the images of Obi-Wan’s injuries) tell a different story. Kritz is concerned that the attack could affect the puppy’s chances of becoming a service dog.
“Having fear issues can take a dog out of the program. He’s being trained to be a wheelchair support dog, so he has to be able to go into a neighborhood with other dogs, go into stores, any places, and unexpectedly see a dog,” said Kritz.
No one wants to see Padi euthanized after the incident, but many believe that the dog should not be allowed to freely roam around the very clinic where now two bite incidents have occurred.
Kritz filed a complaint with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Gartenberg could face a misdemeanor charge of reckless disregard for a service dog resulting in its injury.
It’s an important reminder to owners of reactive or less tolerant dogs. While some dogs would be perfectly suited to freely roam a veterinary clinic, it seems the situation may not be appropriate for Padi. It’s the responsibility of pet parents to keep their dogs in an environment where they feel safe, are not made to feel threatened or uncomfortable – not only for their own dog’s safety, but for the safety of other animals and people.