By Grant Bissell
SALEM, Mo. (KSDK) - A yellow Lab in Salem, Mo. is set to be put down after he bit a little girl last summer. Now thousands of people are rallying to save the animal, including the parents of the girl who was bitten.
Phineas has been with the Sanders family for three and a half years. But for the last 11 months he's been kept at a shelter at the order of the City of Salem.
According to police reports Phineas bit a neighbor who was playing in the Sanders' yard last June. The 7-year-old girl was okay, but had a bloody bite mark on her left side.
At a hearing, Salem Mayor Gary Brown declared Phineas a vicious dog and ordered him put down.
The mother of the little girl says both her daughters had been bitten by Phineas before, but they didn't report it because they weren't as severe as the most recent bite.
The dog's owner says Phineas has never exhibited vicious behavior toward anyone in the past and says there's no proof that the girls were bitten before.
But now, the bite victim's family has joined thousands of people who don't want to see Phineas put down. There's a Facebook page called Save Phineas with thousands of likes and an online petition with more than four thousand signatures from around the world.
Mayor Brown received a letter from the Dent County Animal Shelter, where Phineas was being kept, saying the dog seems to be of mild temperament and "has given us no trouble whatsoever."
The Sanders family wants a settlement where Phineas would be able to live with a relative on a farm outside the city.
But Mayor Brown tells NewsChannel 5 he stands by his ruling. He's worried that if Phineas is allowed to live he may bite someone else.