Two Manatee dogs euthanized after fight to save them - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Two Manatee dogs euthanized after fight to save them

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Dog owner talks after her pets were put down Dog owner talks after her pets were put down
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Two Australian Shepherds that attacked a boy in 2012 have been put to death.

Standing outside Manatee Animal Services in Palmetto, their owner Karen Erskine cried, “Buck and Bill have gone to God. They're no longer with us.”

Her two dogs, Buck and Bill, were put down after an intense, prolonged effort to keep them alive. Earlier this week, a judge upheld the decision that the two dogs would be euthanized because of the attack that happened Christmas Eve in 2012.

Erksine gave her final good-byes to the dogs Thursday night as dozens of her supporters gathered at Manatee County Animal Services on the dogs' final day to fight their death sentence. 

Supporters sobbed as Erskine entered the facility, with her chosen veterinarian.

“For me personally, this is the hardest day of my entire life,” she said Thursday.

Animal Control officials allowed Erskine 30 minutes to be with her dogs. She treated it like a normal vet visit.

“I let them go outside. We had our normal routine," she said. "We go outside, we go to the bathroom, we sniff around and we hang out and talk about the day."

The victim, Justin Curtis's parents, Jessie and Bethany, say Justin is fully recovered from his serious injuries, but now they are getting nasty messages on the internet, some blaming them for the dogs' deaths.

They say Justin, 13-years old at the time, could have died and believe the county followed the law and has acted with compassion. Both say they believe the final action is appropriate.

Erskine says she had both dogs in her arms as the lethal chemicals stopped their hearts.

“I thanked them for being with me for the better part of a decade. What else do you do?” she said.

Justin Curtis was on his bike trying to bring a letter to a mailman when he saw two dogs running toward him. The dogs then attacked him and bit six times, which tore into his muscles. Justin told News Channel 8 shortly after the attack that he was grateful.

“The police said if he hadn't have done that, then they would have killed me,” he said.

It wasn't until the dogs attacked another man in the neighborhood that Manatee County Animal Services took the dogs, declaring them as "dangerous."

Erskine was under the impression the dogs would be given back to her; instead, the boy's family filed a lawsuit and the dogs were later sentenced to death.

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