FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Supporters of a local dog facing a possible euthanization after being deemed "dangerous" in county court breathed a sigh of relief this week after a temporary injunction prohibiting the procedure was granted.
Draco, a two-year-old mixed lab, faced being euthanized as soon as Thursday. But on Friday, a judge extended a temporary injunction prohibiting Draco’s euthanization until Feb. 2021, pending a final hearing.
Earlier this month, Draco was ruled in county court to be "dangerous" after his most recent owner alleged the dog bit him and other family members on three separate occasions.
In a text message sent to WUSA 9 this week, the man said Draco bit him on the face in a "completely unprovoked" attack.
"I was bitten about half an inch under my eye, my upper lip and above that," he said. "I still have the scars."
Due to the dog being ruled dangerous, he faced euthanization.
Since then, supporters of Draco have posted to social media and called for his life to be saved.
Daniella Bizzoco, who transferred ownership of the dog to the man that reported the alleged bites, is now calling for a new trial and for an animal rescue to conduct an assessment of whether Draco is truly "dangerous."
"He never growled or tried biting us. Nothing like that," she said during an interview with WUSA 9 on Sunday. "He was so sweet. He’s really adorable.”
In court documents provided to WUSA 9, Bizzoco's attorney says the dog never showed any dangerous behavior when Bizzoco cared for him.
An opportunity in New York this summer eventually led to Bizzoco needing to move and find a place that would be able to house Draco. However, after being unable to find a suitable living space that allowed dogs, she contacted an 18-year-old man who later adopted him.
According to the court documents, Bizzoco told the man that if Draco presented any issues that he would be returned to her. As a result, her attorney argues that she retained a "conditional ownership interest" with the dog.
However, the man later surrendered Draco to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter due to the alleged biting incidents.
During a hearing last week, Draco was ruled to be "dangerous" in county court.
The man who previously owned Draco told WUSA 9 he did not plan to appeal the ruling.
The Fairfax County Animal Shelter told WUSA 9 on Monday that Draco was being cared for at the facility. In a statement, the shelter said it had no input into classifying the dog as dangerous and said it was against county policy to release dangerous dogs through adoption or transfer.
"Draco was surrendered to the shelter after biting people in his family and was later adjudicated as dangerous in General District Court on Oct. 19; he is now legally a dangerous dog," the statement read. "The shelter is caring for this dog during the proceedings, but the Fairfax County Animal Shelter had no input into the charges or adjudication. In recognition of the importance of public safety, it is against County policy to release legally deemed dangerous dogs via adoption or transfer."
With the future of Draco's life still uncertain, Bizzoco said she planned to keep fighting to keep the dog alive.
"Why put Draco down? He’s only two," she said. "It was probably by accident. We want him back. We wouldn’t be fighting this hard if we didn’t.”