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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2018 1 year ago

Palm Coast mayor losing sleep over a dangerous dog named Cooper, but the city has no authority to intervene

A ranch called Florida Rottweiler Rescue has offered to take Cooper, but the court will have to sort that out, City Manager Jim Landon said.
by: Brian McMillan Executive Editor

A Facebook flyer about Cooper has been keeping Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland up at night, she said at the June 12 City Council workshop. She also has received about 100 emails in the past few days, asking for her help to save the dog, which was ruled to be dangerous and is scheduled to be euthanized.

“I’m a huge animal activist,” Holland said. She asked for the history of the city’s role in Cooper’s legal case. “We need to know why we can’t save Cooper,” she said.

City attorney Bill Reischmann explained that Cooper had been ruled to be a dangerous dog in Port Orange and was then relocated to Palm Coast. Then Cooper bit a second person severely — in the face — and state law requires the dog be euthanized on a second bite. The family is appealing in Circuit Court, Reischmann said, but “the city has no jurisdiction on the fate of this animal.”

Holland asked that the Flagler Humane Society be made aware of the facts of the situation, and City Manager Jim Landon said, “They are well aware of what the state law is. … They are attempting to use a political arena for you to intervene, and they know you can’t. But they’re hoping somehow this will change.”

City Councilman Vincent Lyon, who was sitting in his first full meeting after having been appointed June 5, has experience with dangerous dog cases. He asked what role the city had in the legal case, and Reischmann repeated that the city had no role. However, Lyon then asked how the special master — the hearing officer who oversaw the hearing on the second bite — was appointed, and Reischmann said the city appoints the officer.

A ranch called Florida Rottweiler Rescue has offered to take Cooper, rather than having him destroyed, and City Councilwoman Heidi Shipley said she would like to see that happen, but, she said, “I have no power to do that.”

“We would love it if this dog could go to this ranch or this farm and live out a happy life,” Landon said. “Maybe the courts can come up with a way to make that happen.”

Brian McMillan has been editor of the Palm Coast Observer since it began in 2010. He was named the Journalist of the Year for weekly newspapers in North America by the Local Media Association in 2012. He lives in Palm Coast with his wife and five children. Email...

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