Designated as a dog-friendly city, many residents and online petitioners were beginning to question San Antonio’s status as the battle for Buddy the dog's life, who was accused of injuring a 9-year-old girl and faced euthanasia, wore on. Ultimately the dog was released to his owners, but attorneys in San Antonio note that animal cruelty cases and personal injury cases involving animals are often convoluted with little evidence, and Buddy’s case seems to be no exception. Dog bite cases that come to court are often fraught with he-said-she-said arguments and little hard evidence, and Buddy’s face in the Examiner had thousands of protesters ready to defend the Golden Retriever mix from a court-ordered execution. Attorneys in San Antonio may find this case as confusing as the public and the courts have, with so much back and forth between rulings.
The sole animal of an elderly couple, the pup was charged with causing injury to the young girl during an encounter on November 1st, 2013. The child received an injury to the face, but beyond that, little is certain. Attorneys in San Antonio representing Buddy’s owners stood by the statements that the girl provoked Buddy by screaming in his face, then was scratched by a paw as Buddy reacted, while still on a leash held by his owner. The girl’s mother and her attorneys in San Antonio claim otherwise, saying that no one held Buddy’s leash, the girl did not scream in the dog’s face and she was outright bitten. One non-involved party witness agreed with Buddy’s owner's explanation of events.
It’s still not that simple, regardless of the child's provocation, the statutes in San Antonio specify that no exemption can be made when a dog causes serious bodily injury, even if provoked. But that’s where it gets tricky. “Serious bodily injury,” as attorneys in San Antonio would know, is characterized by severe bite wounds or tearing of muscle “that would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek medical care regardless of whether the person actually sought medical treatment.” The medical evidence in Buddy’s case? A photograph. No records from an emergency room visit or aftercare were provided, and Buddy’s defenders didn't buy the victim's story.
A petition to save the dog’s life gathered 1,000 signatures in just 24 hours, and his case has gone viral on social media, with outcry against his quality of care in the Animal Control facility. A physical gathering of protesters was organized, too, after the dog narrowly escaped death with a stay of execution until all appeals are exhausted. Attorneys in San Antonio may remember other controversial animal cases, though perhaps none as polarized as Buddy’s.