'Padi' the dog under investigation, again

- A Manatee County dog that was given a second chance after biting a child is under investigation again.

Padi is now facing new accusations of biting a puppy at the same pet clinic where the child was bitten.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident between "Padi," and a 4-month-old golden retriever named "Obi-Wan," who is being trained to be a service dog.

The alleged attack happened around 9:40 a.m. Monday, according to Dave Bristow, spokesman for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Obi-Wan's caregiver was getting him puppy shots at the Pet Clinic in Bradenton when the puppy exited the exam room and excitedly tried to greet Padi, who was walking around the area off leash.

"I thought it was just going to be a normal meet and greet, and the dog basically attacked him," said Tammy Kritz, who is training the puppy through New Horizon Service Dogs. ""Padi bit him several times and latched onto the nose. I pulled the dog away from the puppy."

Kritz said the attack was unprovoked, but Dr. Paul Gartenberg, Padi's owner, said the puppy was the aggressor, growling at Padi as he approached him and coming nose-to-nose with the dog.

Gartenberg claimed Padi "nipped" the puppy's nose, but the injury was not severe.

Obi-Wan's nose bled, and was treated with a medicated lotion, according to Kritz. He was left with teeth marks on the top of his snout. She's now afraid the incident could affect the puppy's chances of becoming a service dog.

"Having fear issues can take a dog out of the program. He's being trained to be a wheelchair support dog, so he has to be able to go into a neighborhood with other dogs, go into stores, any places, and unexpectedly see a dog," said Kritz.

Gartenberg said he feels Padi is being unfairly targeted due to the attention surrounding his biting incident last June.

Padi was nearly put down after biting part of the ear off of a 4-year-old boy in the clinic. Gartenberg said Padi was provoked by the child, who kept following him around the office even after the dog retreated under a desk.

Padi gained international attention and more than 27,000 followers through the "Free Padi" Facebook group. A Sarasota judge eventually ruled to release Padi back to Gartenberg.

It led to state lawmakers in Tallahassee passing "Padi's Bill," which protects pets accused of biting from being sentenced to death.

Kritz said she does not want to see Padi put down, but something needs to change to protect others at the clinic.

"You have a dog that has a history of biting other dogs and kids, and you're still allowing it to roam free and cause more damage?" questioned Kritz.

She filed a complaint with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Gartenberg could face a misdemeanor charge of reckless disregard for a service dog resulting in its injury.

The sheriff's office spoke with Gartenberg Monday, but did not remove Padi from the facility.

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