Manatee County, Florida -- Veterinarian Paul Gartenberg and his dog Padi the lab mix are being investigated for another dog bite. Padi bit a puppy, a service dog in training, at Gartenberg’s clinic Monday morning.
Photos show what appear to be bite marks around the nose of the 4-month-old Golden Retriever puppy named Obi-Wan.
“There was a log of blood … puppy got very scared,” says Janet Severt, executive director of New Horizons, the service dog training organization.
Severt says the puppy raiser Tammie Kritz was checking out after the dog received its vaccinations when he was bitten by Padi.
Severt says, “This dog came out into the waiting room attacked the puppy … hung on for dear life.”
Severt now worries Obi-Wan won’t be trainable. “A puppy at that age that is attacked becomes fearful rest of his life of other dogs,” says Severt.
Padi’s owner, Dr. Paul Gartenberg would not go on camera but shared a different story. Gartenberg says the puppy was the aggressor growling at other dogs in the waiting room. At one point Gartenberg says the puppy came nose-to-nose with Padi and that’s when Padi “nipped” him. He says the injuries are minor requiring only antibiotic ointment.
In June, the rescue dog Padi bit a 4-year-old boy in the ear at the Pet Clinic and was nearly euthanized.
Gartenberg and tens of thousands of supporters on social media fought to save Padi and won. State legislators passed Padi’s Law, giving dog owners a chance to present a case in defense of their animal.
Severt says prior to this incident they did not know of Padi’s history. She says, “I’m very disappointed a dog known not to like other dogs or people to wander a vet clinic without a leash.”
While the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, Animal Services won’t investigate, they say dog-on-dog bites do not violate any county laws.
Gartenberg is facing a civil lawsuit from the family of the 4-year-old boy.
Padi bites service dog
After biting the boy, a Free Padi Facebook page racked up more than 27,000 like and hundreds of supporters turned out at county commission meetings and at the hearing in November.
That led to a challenge to Florida law that states any dog that causes severe injury to a person, which includes injuries that result in stitches, reconstructive surgery or death, has to be euthanized and offers no exceptions or the possible motivations of the dog.
Sarasota Judge Andrew Owens then ruled Florida's 25-year-old dog bite law unconstitutional calling it "arbitrary and unduly oppressive." That move released Padi.
Eventually a bill to protect animals from death row passed the House in Tallahassee. Padi's Bill was headed to the governor's desk as of February 2016.