Owner fights to keep dog from being euthanized

A Palm Coast woman says she will fight until the end to save her dog from being euthanized.

Right now, Dottye Benton visits the Flagler Humane Society every day to see Cooper, her 5-year-old Hound-mix. A judge has decided that the dog needs to be put down.

“I can’t tell you… there’s no way to tell you what this has done to me,” Benton said.Cooper has been at the Humane Society for about nine months.

The City of Palm Coast says, back in February, the dog bit and seriously injured a man who was at Benton’s home to clean the carpet. Officials say the man needed reconstructive surgery on his face. About a month before that, Cooper was determined "dangerous" in Port Orange for biting a woman.

“Under Florida law in that case, where a dog that’s previously been declared dangerous bites a second time, Florida law is clear that the dog is to be euthanized,” said Palm Coast spokeswoman Cindi Lane.

Benton claims the dog was being protective of family. The whole thing has led to a long legal battle.

“I’ve spent $10,000 in attorney fees. We’ve had fundraisers and rallies for him,” Benton said.

Cooper also has a Facebook page and a Change.org page with more than 4,000 signatures. Benton says a rescue group in Florida has agreed to take the dog if he’s allowed to live.

“Why put a dog down when you have a place to go? He’ll live out his life there. He’ll never leave there,” she said.

The fight is still far from over. Benton says she plans to file another appeal and even get state lawmakers involved.

“I’ll keep doing it until the last breathe is in my body to get him to the ranch,” Benton said.Cooper will stay at the Humane Society until his fate is finally decided.