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Dog Bites Again, Should The State Euthanize?

On Behalf of | Nov 7, 2016 | Dog Bites

Panama City Police and Bay County Animal Control are investigating another alleged dog bite on a child perpetrated by Marley the dog, which had been at the center of a dispute that received national attention. An animal bite report from the Florida Department of Health states 12-year-old Troy Banks told investigators he was bit Sunday afternoon as the adults in the house on High Avenue, including the dog’s owner and his mother, were sleeping. The report states the boy suffered “moderate punctures on his arm, a bunch of scratches on his leg and more surface punctures.” The case was reported by the boy’s father, Peter Banks, who had dropped his son off at the home to be with his mother. The incident occurred at 2 p.m. Sunday, reports state, and when Banks went to pick up Troy that night, he noticed the puncture marks on his arm. He then took his son to the hospital. The boy told officers he was sitting on the couch and petting Marley’s head Sunday when the dog bit his left wrist and scratched his legs.

This attack occurred after Judge Thomas Welch had issued a ruling May 26 upholding an arbitrator’s decision that Marley, a German Shepard-Lab mix who twice attacked a family member, is a “dangerous dog.” But, Welch ruled, the dog should not be euthanized as Bay County officials had requested. An appellate court has ruled in Bay County’s favor in determining that Marley the dog is a “dangerous” animal, and as such the family must fence him in and buy insurance. The two prior times the dog had attacked a family member was once when the owner’s 15-year-old son was toting a toy gun, wearing a mask and “roughhousing” with his brother. In particular, court documents say the boy was wearing a mask and holding a toy gun while playing ‘Cops and Robbers’ with his 5-year-old brother. The dog’s owner told one news agency that the boys busted through the doorway chasing each other, startled Marley as well, and Marley seeing the mask, he decided he wanted to protect the 5-year-old. In a separate incident, court documents say Marley scratched the 15-year-old while the dog was wrestling with a toy.

Bay County has received letters from people all over the country, and even a few from overseas, pleading with them not to euthanize Marley. But under state law, the county might have no choice. If everything happened as stated in the report, then there were violations to the dangerous dog ordinance. County ordinance requires Jones to keep Marley in a proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and securely restrained by a leash or similar device. It also states the dog cannot be around children unless it’s supervised by an adult. Chapter 767.13 of the Florida Statutes states a dog that previously has been declared dangerous who bites or attacks a person without provocation shall be impounded for 10 days, and then destroyed “in an expeditious and humane manner.

County officials have argued the dog should be put down because it posed a threat to the public. The dog’s owner, Johnothan Jones, posted on his Facebook page after the attack. “We are a very sad family right now,” he wrote. “We knew that if Marley was not perfect on every level, we would lose him. We want to fully live up to our word and understand that Marley might not be ready for a domestic environment after 11 long months of negative reinforced stimulus and PTSD from his captivity. We’ve done the best that we could to make his path to success work. My family would like Marley to go to a sanctuary for other dogs like him…”

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dog bite, contact us at Brannon & Brannon for a free consultation at (850)659-2252 or through our website at




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