AUGUSTA COUNTY -- An Augusta County General District judge declared Oz, Helen Brackenridge's dog, dangerous on Thursday. Despite that classification as dangerous, neither side is happy with the outcome in court.
Brackenridge said her family misses Oz and that the dog helps her son with autism.
“Taking him to see the dog for the first time since he's been gone was heart-wrenching but joyful at the same time,” she said.
Oz stayed in an animal control services center after killing a neighbor's dog, Buster. Buster's owner said it's unsettling that Oz can return to his home.
“I think they're making a mistake. The dog has tasted blood. Ask any farmer that raises an animal and he'll tell you once a dog tastes blood, he'll taste it again,” said Leslie, Buster's owner.
Brackenridge disagrees with the dangerous dog charge.
“My heart sank to my stomach. Not the outcome I was looking for, so I'm kind of sad and disappointed,” she said.
Leslie's girlfriend said she saw the entire thing happen. She said she heard a noise from inside the house and went outside to find Oz and Buster in a fight underneath the porch of her house. She said she saw Oz drag Buster out from underneath the porch, that's when she said Oz growled at her. She said she felt scared of Oz and called 911.
Leslie said this is not the first attack to have happened between the two dogs. He said this was one of three attacks.
Oz could be released if Brackenridge follows court guidelines.
“It's going to be a long process, and hopefully it'll be over very soon," said Brackenridge.
Brackenridge raised money for an attorney to handle the case. She said that's thanks to good neighbors.
“I could not thank anybody enough for what they have done for us, and our family, and especially my child. It means the world to us, and we wouldn't ask for anything else.”
Oz's owner must follow certain guidelines outlined by Virginia state code to be returned to Brackenridge, but Brackenridge's attorney appealed the decision.
A judge will hear that appeal in mid-April.