Stephanie Castro: Dog foster mom says dogs could be euthanized f - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Stephanie Castro: Dog foster mom says dogs could be euthanized for barking at neighbors

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A Port St. Lucie woman is fighting to keep two of her dogs alive after animal control workers deemed them dangerous and took them away.

Stephanie Castro says her dogs didn't bite anyone or jump on anyone. She says all they did was bark at someone.

A state statute says a dog can be considered dangerous simply by scaring someone. In this case, her dogs could be euthanized for barking at a neighbor, Castro says.

Castro is a foster mom to 2-year-old Princess, a Whippet mix, and 6-month-old Duke, a hound-pitbull mix.

She says the dogs were taken from her in September.  Now, the only time she sees them is behind the fence at animal control.

"It's not the same. I mean, we're not even allowed to touch them," Castro said.

Castro says a neighbor first complained to animal control in August that the dogs were loose, off their property and aggressively barking.

Castro admits the dogs should have been on a leash.

After that incident, Castro says animal control came back to her house three more times.

The second time, they came back to tell her the dogs would be deemed dangerous. She would have to muzzle them and have them on a leash outside, and hang a sign in her window stating her dogs are dangerous.

The third time, she says animal control claimed her dogs were loose again. She said her dogs were inside, but looked identical to some stray dogs in the neighborhood. She said she had a witness at her home to vouch that the dogs were inside.

The last time animal control came to her home was to take the dogs in September. She says she was arrested for refusing to give animal control her dogs, arguing they only had one legitimate case against the dogs.

"The only time in two years that they've ever witnessed my dogs doing anything wrong was the day they were in my yard barking at the neighbor," Castro said.

Authorities took the dogs. She learned they could be euthanized.

"They didn't do anything. They didn't bite anyone!" Castro said.

She wants other dog owners to know about the law. An attack in the state of Florida does not mean the dog has to make contact with someone. The dog can scare someone and that can be considered an attack.

"It's like someone has taken my children," Castro said.

An Assistant City Attorney for Port St. Lucie says the city has received nearly 50 calls from residents upset about the law, wanting the dogs to be released.

Port St. Lucie Police also made a presence at Port St. Lucie Animal Control Tuesday night, saying some people have threatened the agency.

There will be a hearing on Oct. 26 to determine if the dogs will be euthanized.

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