Pit Bull Attack on Five-Year-Old Creates Debate

A polarizing decision about whether to spare Mickey's life after attacking a boy is brewing.

By | Posted: March 18, 2014, 2 p.m. PST

This February 20, a Pit Bull attack on a four-year-old boy in Phoenix, Ariz. that caused severe physical damage is developing into an ever-deepening and emotional divide.

According to azcentral.com, the boy, Kevin Vicente, walked into a neighbor's yard and attempted to take a bone away from Mickey, his neighbor's Pit Bull. Although the Pit Bull was secured by a chain, the dog was close enough to rip skin from Vicente's face, causing massive bleeding and broken facial bones. Reconstruction on his face was needed; he will have permanent facial scarring and will most likely need emotional support. The owner of the Pit Bull gave to dog to Mariposa County Animal Care and Control permanently.

Immediately after the attack, a Facebook community page called "Save Mickey” was set up to raise funds for Mickey's lawyers and awareness about the negative affects on an animal's psyche when chained up outside all day and night. There is also an inevitable discussion about whether Vicente should have been without supervision long enough to get into Mickey's personal space, much less his yard.

A video by azcentral.com's Michelle Lee about the debate states, "Internationally, tens of thousands of people around the world, from Tempe, Ariz. to the U.K., are weighing in on social media and online.”

A petition was filed at Phoenix Municipal Court (Court Case No. 14A4793044) requesting Mickey be declared a viscous dog, and to be euthanized. There will be a court hearing in late March, 2014. Rodrigo Silva, director since 2004 at the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control in Phoenix says, "[Mickey] will be here until the courts decide what should be done with him. We're just waiting at this point to see what the decision is.”

A fund set up for Mickey has collected $5,600, attorney John Schill, who is representing the dog in the court petition told the Associated Press. The editorial board of the Arizona Republic noted that a fund set up for Kevin had raised only $2,500 as of last week.

The debate about whether dogs, specifically Pit Bulls should be put down after an attack is pretty high on the discussion list, especially after a violent incident such as this one. However,  when making complex, sometimes extreme decisions, due to human nature in general, beliefs, situations and circumstances, it is difficult to immediately deduce who is right and who is wrong in a debate involving a severely mauled child and an animal that has impulsive instincts humans may never fully understand. 

Two things are for sure: A boy was permanently scarred, and a dog may be put to death. However, this doesn't mean that every situation is black and white. The many discussions, outrage and support on any subject as difficult as this proves that making the right decision is just as difficult as making the wrong one.



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