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Family fighting euthanization order for dog

By JOLEEN FERRIS

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Berattas have had their dog, Jack, a sheltie, for seven years, in which time they say he has never shown any aggressive behavior.

Last Wednesday, though, he bit their granddaughter, who will be three in June, in the face.

Now a judge has ordered the dog be euthanized, but the child's own grandparents and, they say, her own mother, don't want the dog put down.

The dog and the child were behind the grandfather going from one room to another, so they're not sure what, if anything, she might have done to provoke the dog.

Since he has never displayed any kind of aggression in the past, they are guessing that the child grabbed him, his tail, something like that, but they don't know for sure.

The facial bite was documented and it required four stitches, but grandmother Natalie Beratta says they're told the child won't need a plastic surgeon. Since they called 911, the police came and Judge James Van Slyke of New Hartford Town Court has issued a euthanization order.

Stevens Swan Humane Society holds animals in cases like this and their ten day hold is scheduled to end on Saturday, meaning the dog would have to be euthanized. However, the shelter doesn't euthanize without the owner's signed consent and the owner says she isn't signing an order to put down her beloved sheltie.

Beretta went the other route and is now appealing the order. However, she points out that she doesn't want to bring the dog home following the incident. Instead, she has found a home for him in a neighboring county. She says she simply doesn't want him to be euthanized.

"They're older people," Beratta said. "They don't have any children and we made the arrangement to have him go there and we can see the dog whenever we want. So it's a safe situation for everybody. He's a wonderful pet, a wonderful pet. I mean, he's been in our family. He's our family member."

Beratta's appeal means the dog will not be euthanized on Saturday, but the dog's fate will not be known until a decision comes on the appeal.

She says her granddaughter is recovering nicely and not exhibiting any fear of dogs.

The Stevens Swan Humane Society is sheltering and caring for the dog right now as they often do in these cases.

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