A dog that has been sitting on death row, accused of attacking and killing another dog in Bristol, has become ill while in custody and is scheduled to receive surgery costing more than $16,000 in taxpayer money.
Rex, the great Dane in question, had been at the animal control in Bristol since the incident occurred in February.
Once he got sick he was taken to Tuft's University, where it was determined he needed surgery.
The entire issue brings to light how slow the process is for animals to have their hearings and the ethical questions of what is best for all parties involved.
George Sinnamon can still recall that February day his 7-year-old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel Ruby was attacked and killed by Rex, a great Dane, and another great Dane who had wandered from their home about a mile away.
Since then, both dogs are under a kill order, but the female has remained with the owner.
"Both dogs attacked, one attacked in the neck, the other her body and between the two ripped her apart,” Sinnamon said.
Rex has been at animal control in Bristol. He is so skinny that his ribs are showing.
Animal control has taken Rex to four different veterinary facilities to help him get better, but it is not yet clear how Rex became ill.
He may have some intestinal blockage, and surgery may determine how Rex got sick, but without it he will die.
The city of Bristol has agreed to covered the $16,000-plus in medical expenses.
But it does bring up the question for some about spending taxpayer money on a dog slated to be executed anyway.
Attorney Tom Page represents the family who owns Rex, who has appealed the pending kill order says innocent until proven guilty.
“It certainly is true money is being spent, but these questions that come up that you've said are rushes to judgment, there has been no procedure to determine,” Page said.
George Sinnamon, who has since gotten a new dog, agrees that if Rex needs care, he should get it.
He said he just feels it is a shame that a back-log at the state’s Department of Agriculture and Appeals have caused things to get this far.
"Finding that Rex is ill and money needs to be spent on him. I don't understand why the state doesn't just expedite the hearing and make a determination. If Rex isn't guilty and should be returned to his owner, then that should happen, but if Rex is found guilty and the destroy order is upheld then that should take place,” Sinnamon said.
While both side may disagree on the events of that day, they do agree that animals need to be given their day in court sooner and the system is flawed.
The city of Bristol takes the position Rex presents a safety hazard, but it says it is taking all necessary steps and more to see that any animal in custody receives proper veterinary care.
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