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Rufus, beagle taken after biting child, is returned home

The beagle taken after biting a child returns home.
The beagle taken after biting a child returns home.
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Updated: 5/10/2013 9:00 am
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WFTV) -- A dog taken from an Orange County family following a biting incident has been returned to his owners after a month-long battle.

Orange County announced Thursday that after reviewing medical records following the bite it was determined the bite wasn't as serious as initially believed.

Rufus, a 1-year-old beagle, was taken from the family by Orange County Animal Control after biting the family's 4-year-old child on the lip.

Initially the boy's mother, Nikki West, told authorities her son's lip had to be reattached and will require future surgery, and that she was afraid of the dog and did not trust him.

Later, West told Channel 9 that she wasn't thinking clearly when signing the report and that she never intended to have the dog euthanized.

"If I thought it was so horrible, I wouldn't have been fighting so hard from the very beginning," West said.

An attorney for the family filed to appeal the decision to put the dog down.

Rufus' family took to Facebook and Change.org to drum up support for Rufus, and raise money for a legal fund.

Late Thursday afternoon Rufus was returned to his family.

West said Thursday she thought she was coming to animal services just to visit Rufus, as she often does. She said her lawyer called her and said Rufus was coming home.

West and her son Chaz can't do anything but smile after a bitter battle to take their dog home.

"I was actually in tears because it was taking so long thinking that maybe he wasn't going home," West said.

West and her attorney hope the case could serve as an example for policy changes like a waiting period before taking a dog after a bite.

As for Rufus, several people have stepped up to offer free neutering and obedience lessons.

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tlynn - 5/10/2013 10:19 PM
2 Votes
ALL youngsters should be supervised when around family pets! Especially a 4 year old! All it takes is an unknowingly "pull of the fur" or something as simple as that to cause your dog,cat,or any pet to react in such a way….SUPERVISE your children!!!!

nativejax - 5/10/2013 5:32 PM
2 Votes
YEAH and you are an IDIOT TOO. Of course a 4 year old is SUPPOSE TO PLAY WITH THE FAMILY PET...BUT AT 4 YEARS OLD HE SHOULD BE SUPERVISED JUST SO THIS DOESN"T HAPPEN. 4 years is too young to FEND OFF AN UNEXPECTED ATTACK, FAMILY F#@^YING PET OR NOT. Instead of me loosing my keyboard, why don't you go write a book on PARENTING since you know it all. YOU seem to think a toddler should be left to take care of himself at age 4 around animals? Then you must also think the infant that crawled thru the doggy door to outside, while mommy was 'sleeping' and got shredded by all the 'family pets' was SUPPOSE TO PLAY WITH THEM ALSO? 4 years old is STILL TOO YOUNG...ANY PET BIG OR SMALL CAN ATTACK WITHOUT WARNING. THIS MOM SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS...but she didn't and ALMOST had her 'family pet' put down because of her negligence. Yeah I'm really dumb...but my kids NEVER got bitten by mine or ANYBODIES family pet.

1country - 5/10/2013 4:18 PM
0 Votes
nativejax your sick.A family pet is not suppose to play with a 4 year old boy? Give us all a big break and just lose your keyboard! Most of what you say is right on the money, but sometimes you can be so dumb!

nativejax - 5/10/2013 1:58 PM
1 Vote
I am so glad for this little dog...he didn't mean to hurt that baby...NOW WATCH YOUR CHILD, YOU IDIOT.
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