- Associated Press - Friday, May 26, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Utah woman whose dog was ordered put to death after the animal bit a teenage girl says the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, and the state Humane Society is joining her fight to change city rules they call unfairly harsh.

Owner Lindsy Bray said Thursday her 5-year-old Australian Shepard named Dexter is a friendly dog who plays with her children and other neighborhood kids.

He managed to escape their fenced yard while the family was out for the day on Oct. 20, 2016. Police have told her Dexter bit the teenage girl on the back of the leg. The girl’s skin wasn’t broken, and she didn’t require medical treatment, Bray said.

Santaquin police Cpl. Mike Wall said they take all dog-bite cases seriously. He declined to release the department’s report on the incident, citing the ongoing court case.

The city council is set to consider changing the ordinance on June 7, officials in Santaquin said.

Reached by The Associated Press, the girl’s family declined to comment but didn’t dispute Bray’s account.

Bray said she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in January, thinking she’d pay a fine. Instead, the judge ordered the dog be put down within five days. She refused and appealed.

“He’s a huge part of our family,” she said. “I would never let my dog die.”

The order came under a city rule that says any animal that has bitten, clawed, chased or harassed a person must be put down within five days.

The rule is outdated and out of step with many other cities in Utah, said Craig Cook, president of the Humane Society of Utah. “It’s just an overly broad ordinance, and we will attack it all the way up to the highest court if we have to,” he said.

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