Judge gives dog on death row a reprieve
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The life of a mutt that's been on doggy death row for more than a year has been spared by a judge following an outcry from animal lovers and the acceptance of a last-ditch proposal to keep the dog alive.
Now Prada, the four-year-old pitbull mix that inspired thousands of strangers across the globe to sign a petition to save the dog's life, could be headed to fame on the Animal Planet network.
The dog was declared vicious and ordered to be euthanized after escaping from her home and attacking several dogs in an upscale Nashville neighbourhood in January 2011. It usually doesn't take long to carry out such an order, but Prada's owner fought a lengthy legal battle, vowing to never stop until she saved her dog.
Nicole Andree, a 35-year-old real estate agent who rescued Prada when the dog was four weeks old, asked a judge to spare her beloved companion if she agreed to send the animal to the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans. The rescue centre is featured in Animal Planet's reality TV show "Pitt Bulls and Parolees," which puts ex-convicts and abused dogs together so both man and animal can be rehabilitated.
Andree said she didn't mind giving her dog up if it meant Prada would be spared. "I just wanted her to live."
She said her dog would be in good hands with Tia Torres, who runs the Villalobos Rescue centre.
While she was relieved for her dog, Andree said the toll of endless legal battles and not knowing whether Prada was going to live or die has proven to be devastating for her own family. Andree's father died of a heart attack on Easter Sunday.
"The stress from everything killed my father," she said while choking back tears.
Andree has said her dog was being discriminated against because it is part pit bull.
The dog was ordered put down by three different courts after attorneys for the city of Nashville said Prada posed a public safety threat. In court documents, they expressed concerns that the city could be held liable if Prada were to attack another dog or even a human.
Afterward, Andree launched a social media campaign to save Prada, which inspired more than 11,000 people to sign a petition asking Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to pardon Prada. But the governor, through a spokesman, said it was a local matter and he couldn't pardon a dog.
Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley signed the order sparing Prada after city attorneys said they would not object to the plan to transfer ownership of the dog to Torres so it could live at the rescue centre.
The dog must stay at the rescue centre for the rest of its life, Binkley's order said.