Last minute decision temporarily spares life of Valley dog

Published: Jul. 13, 2018 at 6:57 PM EDT
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A last minute decision has temporarily spared the life of a six-year-old pit bull named Dominic.

Dominic has been under the care of the Rockingham & Harrisonburg SPCA for three months after being deemed a dangerous dog by the court. He was scheduled to be euthanized Friday at 2:30 P.M. However, the Harrisonburg City Attorney ordered the SPCA to give the owners one more week to find the dog a new home.

On March 7th, Dominic got loose from his owner's care. A police officer approached him and allegedly Dominic jumped and growled at the officer. The officer then tased the dog. The officer testified in court, though, that there was no physical contact between him and Dominic.

The owner's attorney, Elliott Harding, said that Dominic's actions should not be considered dangerous.

"At this point, we definitely don't think he should be put down. Not all dangerous dogs are the same," said Harding. A dog jumping at someone should not be subject to being destroyed and there are definitely rehabilitation options available, other shelters, other rehab centers out of state. We have those options."

Dominic's owner, Shana Smith, said that she has asked to see her dog for three months and Friday was the first time she has been able to do so. She said this whole experience has been an emotional roller coaster.

"It's been crazy. Like I've had this dog for my entire adult life and I just moved to a new home and he can't be apart of that," said Smith. "I can't involve him in anything. I have to know that he's living here in a cement kennel for months. It's terrible. I wouldn't want any dog to go through that."

Since Smith moved, she now has breed restrictions at her residence and does not have the resources to take Dominic back, but she said that there are several options for the dog.

"Best case scenario right now would be for him to be transferred out of this SPCA, and for him to be placed into the ownership of someone else or another rehabilitation center, or sanctuary," Harding said. "Whether it's in the Commonwealth of Virginia or even out of Virginia, we have resources both in state and out of state. But that's something Smith wants...for him to live and have a happy life."

The Rockingham & Harrisonburg SPCA did not immediately comment on the matter when asked from WHSV.

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