A pit bull that mauled a four-year old in February will live out his days in a Phoenix no-kill shelter, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The pit bull, who is also four-years old, was declared vicious but spared from euthanasia after animal-rights activists protested.
The dog, Mickey, attacked Kevin Vicente on February 20, breaking his eye socket and jaw. The dog was in a neighboring yard, and the boy was in the care of a babysitter.
Phoenix Municipal Court Judge Deborah Griffith ordered that Mickey be neutered and defanged, and ordered the dog's trustee, animal-rights group the Lexus Project, to find a rehab center or shelter for him. Mickey cannot be put up for adoption.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who operates a no-kill shelter, offered to take the dog in.
The sheriff testified that he expects Mickey to live out his life in the shelter.
When the 81-year old Arpaio was asked what would happen to the shelter if he were no longer sheriff, he answered, "I expect to be the sheriff forever."
An attorney for the dog, John Schill, stated that the defanging would not remove Mickey's canine teeth, but would cut and cap them to a size similar to his other teeth.
The procedure will cost about $2,500.
Schill asked Judge Griffith to rescind the defanging order, and give the funds to the Vicente family.
Judge Griffith declined, stating that the boy faces months, if not years of reconstructive surgery.
"Kevin's injuries are so vast and so devastating that $2,500 is really just a drop in the bucket," she said.
Griffith also stated that she did not want anyone else to be harmed by the dog.
Before the hearing, candlelight vigils were conducted to raise awareness of Mickey's impending death, and some animal-rights activists said that both the dog and the child were victims.