Tampa Family Asking Governor To Save Their Dog

ZeusThe Otero family is asking for a second chance for their dog, Zeus, a 2-year-old German Shepherd. In March, Zeus attacked a Verizon repairman outside of the Otero home. The man says that he was bitten in several spots including his crotch, knee, foot and back. He says he even suffered some nerve damage in one of his elbows.

After the incident, Zeus was placed in the custody of Sarasota County officials, and a judge has ordered that Zeus be put down this Friday. With time running out, the Oteros are asking the governor to help.

More on Zeus’s case after the jump.

From First Coast News:

“People on death row, murderers get a reprieve I assume you call it, from a death sentence, why not Zeus?” asked Ana Otero, Dog Owner.

The Oteros are also making a public appeal to Flick (the man that Zeus attacked) to help them save their dog, adding if Zeus is saved, they’ll be happy to turn him over to a trainer.

“He’ll leave the state. We’re willing to give him up as long as he can live. That’s all I’m asking,” said Ana Otero, Dog Owner.

Update: Here is a different news article that gives more details on the incident and says that the Verizon employee was INSIDE the house to inspect a telephone jack when Zeus bit the Verizon employee.

As Gilbert Otero let go of the dog, Zeus bounded up to the telephone worker and jumped on him. The telephone worker petted Zeus on the head and everything appeared to be fine, Ana Otero said.

However, seconds later, Zeus noticed a blue bag swinging from the worker’s tool belt, Ana Otero said.

“For some reason, that is when Zeus bit,” Ana Otero said. “I don’t know what triggered him. The initial bite was to his right elbow and I believe he was going for the bag.”

Zeus also bit the telephone worker below his belly, Ana Otero said.

“It wasn’t even a bite. The man didn’t need any stitches,” she said. “Most of them were scratches. The only puncture was at the elbow.”

(Thanks trucorgi)

11 Responses to “Tampa Family Asking Governor To Save Their Dog”

  1. mittens says:

    i’d have to say that i personally too have been compelled to attack both the verizon repairmen and and the uh ‘ service technicians’ from any of an assortment of cable companies.my cats are also highly unnerved by experiencing unrestrained butt crack within their territory. ive told my girls they can attack first if someone near the tv moons them and we’ll deal with the body later.

    you have you be so careful with people like verizon coming on your property- they usually have an easement to do so even if you didn’t call them. if your pet attacks them youre and more importantly the pet is screwed. there’s not a lot of info to this story to show whether or not the dog had a history of unprovoked aggressive behavior or not.there are numerous incidents of children entering neighbors yards and being bitten- but the dogs were not ‘ put down’ after the biting/’mauling’ incidents because they were leashed in their own yard or the child inadvertantly made the dog feel threatened. i guess it depends on the judge but generally it is the vicious unprovoked attacks in a pattern of behavior that would compell a judge to declare a dog dangerous. once again with these news snippets papers toss out there- you’re left with a lot of questions due to gapping holes in the narrative.

    for instance the incident occurred ‘ outside the otero home’ what does that mean? on the ortero property? or was the dog UNLEASHED and left the otero property and attacked the man there? if the later ,these folks have themselves to blame-your dog shouldn’t be in a situation where he could wander off the property. they say theyre willing to ‘ turn the dog over to a trainer’ but the train on that one has already left the damn station- YOU should have been training the dog or having a trainer help you when he was a pup. now it’s all crocodile tears and ’save our family pet’. why people wait until an incident with a stranger such as this to decide to do what is the core tenet of responsible dog ownership- particularly of the breeds associated with fighting or home/human protection. is an unfortunate pattern in our society. the victims are the people harmed by the untrained, loose or unattended animal and the animal itself when the courts are involved and it could loose its life.

    it’s hard to tell if this is the case or not but is indicated by the too little too late comment that they’d even break down and get their dog trained.imagine. should have thought of that before.maybe the guy provoked the attack- you can’t tell from the info in the article.

    more in a series of alleged ‘bad dogs’ which just really usually means ‘bad irresponsible people.’ it should be considered cruelty not to properly train your large, defence oriented breed of pup. i feel sorry for the dog.

  2. trucorgi says:

    It seems the owners should have crated the dog or put him in another room behind a closed door away from the repairman.

  3. furmom says:

    Having had German Shepherds for many years, I’d have to say that something is not right if a dog bit someone. If the guy just entered the property they should not do more than bark unless provoked. That includes protection dogs (which I have trained). But some people encourage aggression in their shepherd stupidly thinking it makes him guard better. On the other hand some service people act aggressively toward the dog which is dangerous. It would be interesting to know which was the case here.

  4. Debbie4747 says:

    Details on what really happened, in the article, are skimpyand makes this hard to really form a real opinion. If I were a serviceman of any sorts, I would ask the homeowner to remove any animal from where I would need to work as a precaution.

  5. crowgirl says:

    Did the repairman enter a fenced yard, unaware (or heedless) of the fact that a dog was inside? Was the dog running loose in an unfenced area? Were the owners at home? Did the repairman run or (alternately) behave in a way the dog might interpret as threatening? Were the owners elderly and, therefore, in the dog’s mind perhaps, in need of protection? Was the dog generally/usually under voice control? Had the dog previously bitten anyone or exhibited aggressive behavior?

    As everyone has pointed out, there are too many unanswered questions to formulate an opinion. Though I can appreciate the repairman’s POV (dog bites are extremely painful), I also feel so very sad for the dog. Whatever happened, it’s quite likely he is the least blameworthy of the lot.

  6. Bridgett says:

    It always bothers me when an animal is punished for acting like an animal. This dog was just doing what his instincts were telling him to do. He must have felt threatened in some way. He responded the way his instincts told him too.

    If his owners knew he could be aggressive, then they are at fault. They should have restrained him, crated him while the Verizon guy was there.

    If this is a new behavior for the dog, declare him dangerous and get him and his humans into training. Call a behaviorist.

  7. Trudy Jackson says:

    There’s not enough details. He might have thought He was protecting the family.

  8. Tamar says:

    I live in this area and this report conflicts what was reported in our local newspapers and TV stations. According to what I read this incident happened INSIDE THE HOME and this dog had no history of bites. Furthermore, it had also been reported the owner asked the verizon man to wait while he put his dog up before entering the home but the serviceman said he liked dogs and it would be okay. It had also been reported the owner is a vet suffering from PTSD and had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. He was very depressed and the dog was his reason for getting out of bed in the morning. The reports also stressed that none of the bites required stitches. I am surprised to see this which seems to conflict all local coverage of it. I was first made aware of it by a phone call from an upset friend.

    Here is the local report I read:

    This week, a judge in Sarasota ruled that a two-year-old German Shepherd named Zeus should be put down, after the dog left a Verizon repairman peppered with bites and bruises.

    For his owner, Gilbert Otero, Zeus is more than a dog.

    After serving in Vietnam and in the Gulf War, Otero has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and recently found out he has colon cancer.

    Through all his medical woes, he says, Zeus is the best medication he’s ever had.

    “To me, he just gave me that one chance again everyday. I get up, he’d be there in the morning. He wakes me up like, ‘hello!’”

    Even on some days when Otero didn’t want to get up.

    But then, one morning in March, Zeus apparently took his role as protector a little too far.

    A Verizon repairman showed up to the Otero’s house on Amalfi Road in Nokomis, and after working outside, the man told Otero and his wife Ana that he needed to come inside.

    Otero says he told the repairman to wait so he could put Zeus away first.

    “But he said, ‘Oh, I like dogs.’ I said ‘okay!’” Otero recalled.

    So Otero stood with the repairman at the front door, opened it up and allowed Zeus to sniff at the man to get acquainted.

    Otero says the dog put his paws on the repairman’s chest, wagged his tail and then dropped down on all fours.

    At that point, Otero says, the repairman pulled away, and he says that’s what made Zeus snap.

    The police report says the repairman, 23-year-old William Flick of Northport, suffered several injuries, namely a tear to the left knee, a puncture and tear to the right arm and punctures and scratches on his back.

    Flick went to Venice Hospital, where he was bandaged, but his injuries didn’t require any stitches. Still, Flick says he still had to take a few days off work.

    Zeus was immediately taken to Sarasota County animal services, and he’s been there ever since.

    The Oteros appealed a magistrate’s decision that Zeus should be euthanized.

    Then, on Tuesday, yet another unfavorable ruling for the Oteros: a county judge again ordered Zeus be put down.

    A spokesperson for the Sarasota County sheriff’s office, which oversees animal services, says they plan to uphold the judge’s euthanization order.

    But as of Wednesday night, the spokesperson said, Zeus was still in a holding cell.

    The Oteros have already spent $4,500 in legal fees and say they’re out of money and nearly out of hope.

    If that is the true story, this is a travesty of justice.

  9. Debbie4747 says:

    If the second article is the true story, whoever wrote the first needs desperately sued for libel. Maybe if more of the second got out, the family could have gotten more support? I hope the dog gets a reprieve then.

  10. furmom says:

    Having read the full story now, I’d say the dog has to be put down or given to someone who knows how to handle a protection dog with a serious temperament flaw, and this is a protection dog whether the owner realizes it or not. This owner does not qualify. He is emotionally dependent on an animal which is a loaded gun, an impossible situation for a German Shepherd. The owner is not going to stop being emotionally weak due tohis mental condition, and a Shepherd who is prepared to protect has no “Off” switch if his owner is not mentally stronger than he is. Protection dogs do not “snap” and attack, they are only supposed to protect in response to aggression, not just a jittery human. This dog must be physically kept away from any person who is not his owner, and a Shepherd is also at risk for dominating his owner if he is not emotionally healthy. German Shepherds are not allowed to make mistakes in when to attack.

  11. Itchmo: Daily news, humor and reviews for cat & dog owners » Update On Zeus The Dog says:

    […] week, we reported on a story that involved Zeus the dog. He was accused of attacking a Verizon employee inside his owner’s home. After the attack, a judge sentenced Zeus to […]

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