Judge to decide fate of Arizona pit bull that mauled 4-year-old

Judge to decide fate of Arizona pit bull that mauled 4-year-old

Posted: Updated:
In this Feb. 2014 photo provided by Flor Medrano, 4-year-old Kevin Vicente shows off his injuries. (Courtesy of the Associated Press) In this Feb. 2014 photo provided by Flor Medrano, 4-year-old Kevin Vicente shows off his injuries. (Courtesy of the Associated Press)
Mickey, the dog that is the subject of a Facebook page that has garnered over 39,000 likes as fans attempt to save his life. (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press) Mickey, the dog that is the subject of a Facebook page that has garnered over 39,000 likes as fans attempt to save his life. (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)
PHOENIX -

(AP) — A dog that mauled a 4-year-old Phoenix boy has received thousands of pleas for mercy through a Facebook campaign ahead of a court hearing to decide his fate.

A municipal court judge could rule at a March 25 hearing on whether Mickey, a pit bull that bit Kevin Vicente in the face, should be euthanized. Kevin received injuries that will require, according to doctors, months and possibly years of reconstructive surgeries.

Since the Feb. 20 attack, Mickey has become the object of a Facebook page that has gotten more than 40,000 likes and an online petition to spare his life.

Supporters say the campaign doesn't mean they value the dog's life above the child's.

"This is not Kevin versus Mickey," said attorney John Schill, who is representing the dog in the court petition. "Having Mickey killed is not going to take away Kevin's pain or injuries. The only thing this is going to do is kill a poor, innocent dog."

Pit bulls are viewed by some as a dangerous breed, a reputation their fans dispute.

Guadalupe Villa, who was at the scene of the attack, filed the vicious-animal petition to have the dog put down.

"I just looked at all this as this could have been my son, and I don't want it to be someone else," Villa said.

Schill said he is working pro bono at the request of The Lexus Project, a nonprofit that collects money to legally defend canines in danger of being euthanized. The organization has set up a trust for Mickey that has received more than $5,600, he said.

Schill said the person watching Kevin while his mother was at work should be held responsible.

"But for adults involved, this never would have happened," Schill said. "They're trying to put all the blame on Mickey."

Villa, whose boyfriend's mother was baby-sitting Kevin the day of the attack, said her friend is not to blame.

"She took amazing care of that little boy," said Villa, who claims in the petition that Mickey killed her dog last year.

According to Villa, Kevin picked up a bone lying on the ground near the dog, which was kept on a chain. That's when Mickey suddenly attacked Kevin, Villa said.

Villa said she can't understand the Facebook attention and doesn't see Mickey as a victim.

Kevin was hospitalized at Maricopa Medical Center with a broken eye socket, cheek bone and lower jaw bone, according to doctors.

Dr. Salvatore Lettieri, a Mayo Clinic physician and chief of cosmetic surgery at Maricopa Medical Center, said he was able to fix the broken bones and reattach the muscles that allow Kevin to open and close his eye.

"He still can't open his eye. We'll need to fix the tear duct drainage system — that is if he makes tears," Lettieri said.

Flor Medrano, a family friend, said Kevin continues to recover at a pediatric hospital in Phoenix but will return to Maricopa Medical Center later this week for more surgery on his eye.

Medrano also said a fundraising website has received about $6,000 in donations for the boy. The Maricopa Health Foundation also established a website that has received 50 donations.

The social media support for Mickey doesn't indicate that people care more about a dog than a child, Harold Herzog, a psychology professor at Western Carolina University who studies animal interaction.

He said it's likely that lovers of pit bulls, specifically, are driving Mickey's Facebook following. Pit bulls have been saddled with a bad rap — fair or not — of being one of the most dangerous dogs. A lot of that reputation is thanks to other mauling cases, Herzog said.

"I don't think this reflects that people like dogs more than they like kids. It's a reflection that ... this is yet another instance of their breed getting blame for something it didn't do," Herzog said. "'Blame the deed, not the breed.'"

Support for Mickey intensified after an employee at the Maricopa County Animal Control and Care Center, which has custody of the dog, wrote on Facebook that Mickey was "going night night."

Melissa Gable, a center spokeswoman, said the employee will face administrative action but declined to elaborate.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Kevin Sweat accepts deal, pleads guilty to three murders

    Kevin Sweat accepts deal, pleads guilty to three murders

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:35 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:35:55 GMT
    A man accused of three brutal murders in Okemah has pleaded guilty to all three charges and agreed to give up his right to a trial.
    A man accused of three brutal murders in Okemah has pleaded guilty to all three charges and agreed to give up his right to a trial.
  • Police: HIV positive man arrested, accused of spreading virus to partners

    Police: HIV positive man arrested, accused of spreading virus to partners

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:00:57 GMT
    Police say Martin Kraham is HIV positive and had unprotected sex with multiple partners. This photo is from his arrest in 2005,courtesy Oklahoma County Jail.Police say Martin Kraham is HIV positive and had unprotected sex with multiple partners. This photo is from his arrest in 2005,courtesy Oklahoma County Jail.
    The Oklahoma City Police Department tells Fox 25 an HIV positive man has been arrested on accusations that he engaged in conduct that would transfer AIDS or HIV.
    The Oklahoma City Police Department tells Fox 25 an HIV positive man has been arrested on accusations that he engaged in conduct that would transfer AIDS or HIV.
  • Report: after sexual advances spurned, man sets fires

    Report: after sexual advances spurned, man sets fires

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 18:33:03 GMT
    Leonard Johnson, 29, was arrested Wednesday morning after a woman told police he set her chairs on fire after she spurned his sexual requests. Image courtesy: Oklahoma County JailLeonard Johnson, 29, was arrested Wednesday morning after a woman told police he set her chairs on fire after she spurned his sexual requests. Image courtesy: Oklahoma County Jail
    Police say an Oklahoma City man was arrested on arson charges after his sexual advances were apparently spurned by a woman Wednesday morning.
    Police say an Oklahoma City man was arrested on arson charges after his sexual advances were apparently spurned by a woman Wednesday morning.
ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.