Was it a humane decision or a publicity ploy that caused over 11,000 emotional strangers around the world to sign a petition to spare the life of Prada, a four-year-old Pit Bull mix that had escaped from its home and reportedly viciously attacked a total five other innocent dogs since January 2011?
Under an order by a judge, Prada will live out the rest of her life with experienced care by Tia Torres at Villalobos Rescue Center, which specializes in Pit Bulls and dogs with backgrounds of aggressive behavior and in rehabilitating parolees. But Prada will be alone behind wire in a kennel, not in a comfortable home, cuddled by her human. She will also need to be totally separated from other dogs if reports of her prior conduct are accurate.
Animal control officials first picked Prada up after she escaped from her Nashville home and allegedly attacked another dog, according to news reports. Since then, city officials say Prada attacked four more dogs, two of which were in Metro Animal Control custody. The injuries to those dogs were so severe that both dogs had to be put down, according to a CBS report.
AN “ANIMAL ARMY” IS FORMED
Prada has been on death row for more than a year after orders by three different Nashville courts that the dog should be euthanized because she posed a public safety threat and could potentially attack another dog or a human. However, her owner, Nicole Andree, maintains that the stories are untrue and that her dog did not attack or bite any dogs and is the victim of discrimination and prejudice because of her breed.
On March 12, 2012, CBS News reported that a Metro judge ordered the dog to be euthanized unless Andree could come up with $16,100 to appeal the ruling. Andree posted her plea on Facebook, and supporters around the world joined in to help raise the money, calling themselves the "Animal Army."
An Internet petition was created by Andree after Prada’s plight was featured on Animal Planet and Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley Jr. decided that the dog could be transferred to the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans. Prada must move to the center within two weeks and stay there the rest of her life. Andree agreed to permanently give up ownership of her dog.
"If Prada had bit a human or scratched a human even or aggressively come after anybody, including a dog, it would have scared me to death," she told Nashville's CBS News 2. "I would have found a rescue right then, even if [Animal Control] would have given back the dog."
Regardless of the fact that Prada will receive experienced care at the Villalobos center, dogs are pack animals and thrive on constant interaction with humans and other animals. Pit Bulls often must be kept separated from other dogs and are therefore totally dependent upon interaction with humans for the emotional and physical contact.
Although she receives some daily attention from the rescue-kennel staff, she will also be only a short distance from other dogs or in an adjoining kennel and subject to the constant stimulation that can enhance aggressive or self-protective instincts she reportedly has already exhibited.
“AT 35 YEARS OLD, I HAVE NO CHLDREN…SHE WAS MY KID”
Is it love or a blind denial of the lack of quality of life for any dog that lives for years in caged isolation that caused her owner, 35-year-old real estate agent, Nichole Andree to agree to commit the animal to an out-of-state facility?
Andree said she didn’t mind giving her dog up if it meant Prada would be spared. “I just wanted her to live.” “I’m very happy,” Andree said. “At the same time, it’s a bittersweet win. At 35 years old, I have no children and she was my kid.”
Andree also told reporters that, while she is relieved for the dog, the toll of endless legal battles had been so devastating to her family her father died of a massive heart attack on Easter Sunday. “The stress from everything killed my father,” she said.
Iit is speculated that Prada may soon gain further fame on the Animal Planet's reality TV show 'Pitt Bulls and Parolees,' not because she has rescued a drowning child or warned a family of a burning house as many loving pets of all breeds—including Pit Bulls--have done.
Prada’s main legacy so far is that she has reportedly seriously injured other dogs. Should she be venerated merely for beating the system and proving the power of social media?