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Utah dog that bit girl won’t be put to death

SALT LAKE CITY — A deal has been reached that will spare the life of a dog ordered put to death after he bit a 12-year-old girl in a case that generated criticism from the Humane Society of Utah.

Lindsy Bray, the owner of the Australian Shepherd named Dexter, agreed Thursday to pay a $145 fine for dog-at-large and dog licensing violations. A judge had imposed the original death sentence for the dog.

In return for Bray’s payment, officials in the small city of Santaquin dropped the dog-attack charge filed after Dexter escaped a fenced yard in October 2016 and nipped a girl. Though the bite broke no skin, city regulations state that any animal that has bitten, clawed, chased or harassed a person must be put down within five days.

The Humane Society joined Bray in criticizing the penalty imposed on Dexter, saying it was the 5-year-old dog’s first offense and that the rule is so broad that a dog jogging with its owner could be considered vicious if it was following the owner.

The Santaquin City Council rejected a proposal for the rules to be revised but critics hope the council will reconsider next year, Humane Society of Utah president Craig Cook said Friday.

Bray was relieved with the deal to save Dexter’s life, saying “right before Christmas is a good time to have this off my shoulders.”

Dexter is currently recovering from the effects of the apparent ingestion of rat poison last month. The Humane Society offered a $5,000 reward for information about how he was poisoned.

An investigation has turned up no evidence that Dexter was intentionally poisoned, said Santaquin Police Corporal Mike Wall.

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