Animal Services Refuses To Return “Death Row” Dog Back To Owners

KaneTiffany Eckart and Tyler Burbank simply want their dog back. But Animal Services has refused to return their dog to them.

It all started in January. Kane, a 7-year-old pit bull, was declared dangerous after he chased another dog, bit the owner and a gas meter reader. To keep Kane, Eckart and Burbark had to muzzle Kane.

In February, a neighbor complained about Kane running loose. When an animal control officer came to catch Kane, the dog nipped his leg and ripped his pants. Burbank was charged with a misdemeanor for a dangerous dog bite. Animal Services wanted to put Kane down, but County Judge Nick Nazaretian determined that Kane had been provoked. Kane got out of Animal Services, and Burbank pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and received probation.

In April, during a visit to the veterinarian, an assistant accused Kane of biting her in the face. She dropped the dog on his head, and when she bent down to see if he was okay, he bit her. The woman needed 14 stitches on her nose and upper lip. Animal Services took Kane again. His owners were accused of allowing a dangerous dog to cause severe injury, a felony.

Animal control officials wanted to euthanize Kane because they said he was a threat to the community.

More than two months after a hearing on Kane’s fate, hearing officer John F. Rudy III issued an order saying that the dog had reacted in fear at the vet’s office. Rudy said the dog should be released to its owners.

But when the couple went to Animal Services to get their dog back last week, they refused to give Kane back.

The couple’s lawyer got an order from the county judge enforcing Rudy’s ruling. The couple went back to the facility with papers from the judge. After a two-hour wait at Animal Services, they were denied their dog again.

The next day, the county filed an appeal of Rudy’s decision. The assistant county attorney explained that the government had 10 days after Rudy’s ruling to file an appeal. Animal Services refused to return the dog because of advice from legal counsel.

The couple believe that the county is prejudiced toward pit bulls and is hoping he will die in Animal Service’s custody. They said Kane has scars on him, and he is in dirty conditions. They added that the county is buying more time, so he will waste away and die at Animal Services.

Kane remains on dog death row while the county tries to get the authority to put him down.

Source:, St. Petersburg Times

11 Responses to “Animal Services Refuses To Return “Death Row” Dog Back To Owners”

  1. Amanda says:

    GRRRR!!!! They should get their dog back!!! Why did the vet assistant drop the dog on his head in the first place??? Sounds to me this dog gets provoked by people and then they try to punish the dog for their stupidity!

  2. Cathy says:

    Uh, what about the dog he went after and the 3 other people that got bitten?

  3. Bane says:

    So, Cathy, I guess you agree the dog should die? Just like that? Why are you even on here anyway, if you support kill shelters?

  4. Lis says:

    The dog he went after and the people he bit on that occasion–that’s a reason for the owners to be required to take extra care. The subsequent bites, though, the dog was provoked (court so ruled, on the occasion of the second bite incident) or reacting in fear (after being dropped on his head; again, court so ruled.)

    The dog should be returned to his owners.

  5. janet says:

    the owners do not seem to be responsible people, letting their dog run loose, especially after he bit other people. I was walking my sweet Whippet and an akita running loose attacked us. Nobody should ever have to go through that kind of an episode. The dog should not be returned to the owners, it should get a new home with people who keep it on a leash, safe from getting run over by a car and the neighbors will be safe from dog attacks. I love dogs and all animals but I will fight to keep my dog safe.

  6. nora says:

    We have 4 dogs. A 1 yr male neutered Aussie, so very sweet, a baby female Jackrussell Blue heeler cross, also sweet, and an older female Canadian Huskie mix. They are all non agressive. But our 2 yr old Blue Heeler neutered male denifitely has issues! Although with us he is affection seeking and a fantastic frisbee athelete, He is dog agressive and also has been known to snap(louding clicking his teeth just like an alligator) at strangers and a few inlaw family members. He rushes the fence quite aggressively and looks and sounds horribly ferocious! He has truly scared people innocently walking by our property or attempting to enter our yard by the gate we keep padalocked. We must ALWAYS watch him and keep him leashed on outings whenever there is a chance of someone or another dog being near. We know that if he were ever a stray for any reason and then detained by the local animal rescue league, he would more than likely be put down. That to us is a HORRIBLE thought and we protect our problem child like he is just that. We must be responsible pet parents. I am sure that Kane is a very good dog and that his owners love him. I really hope that they are given another chance to watch over him as they should and that poor Kane is returned to them.

  7. pat says:

    what a sad story. there’s plenty of blame to go around here, although none of it should be placed on the dog. the people who own Kane let this become the problem that it is now. i don’t know what the deal is at the vet’s office… what sort of procedure was taking place that Kane was not accompanied by his owners? if you know your animal is unpredicatble under stress, isn’t it best to be present in a situation where an incident might unfold? it’s distinctly possible that Kane truly is being neglected now, since it’s very likely that the animal control people are afraid of him. i don’t see any good end to this story. i don’t believe that the owners are responsible enough to get him back, and i don’t think what animal control is doing is right either. and the poor dog suffers.

  8. Marie says:

    Didn’t the judge rule that the dog should be returned to his owners? The owners should take a lawyer to the shelter & just get him with a copy of that court order.

  9. Mary says:

    Marie, the judge did issue a ruling, but the county appealed. Since the county has the dog in custody, they’re not releasing Kane until an appeals judge rules on the case.

    To play devil’s advocate: what if the county released Kane (pending the outcome of the appeal) and Kane bit someone again? Who is at fault — the county for releasing a dangerous dog, the owners for harboring a dangerous dog, or the victim of the dog bite?

    What if Kane were a human being instead of a dog? What would you recommend his parents do?

  10. Danielle says:

    I feel bad for the dog. Unfortunately he has the kind of idiot irresponsible owners that give the breed a bad name- he obviously has some behavior issues- if he’s bitten multiple times. The other bites could have been easily prevented if the owners would have sought out help from a behaviorist after the first incident, and were more responsible about containing him. Mistakes happen- but after your first one you should learn from it.

  11. angela palmer says:

    Any update?

    August 16, 2007
    Animal Services Refuses To Return “Death Row” Dog Back To Owners
    Filed under: Dogs, National Dog, Cat & Pet Info, News for Cats, Dogs & Owners — Emily Huh @ 3:53 am

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