LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Bandit, a helper dog ruled dangerous by a Lancaster judge after he caused serious physical injury to his owner’s neighbor, will not be euthanized following a Thursday court decision.
The 4-year-old Alaskan Malamute will still be considered a dangerous dog but will be rehabilitated rather than put down. Bandit will live in an animal sanctuary following his rehabilitation and not be returned to his owner. The dog will also be neutered and microchipped.
In addition, the dog’s owner, Joshua Gilley, will pay $1,000 to the Town of Lancaster as well as repay the medical bills of the victim, Jillian Durkin.
The decision comes after a nearly six-hour court hearing last Thursday, in which several witnesses were called to the stand, including Durkin and Gilley.
During her testimony, Durkin said that while trying to move Bandit away from her son and another child, the dog bit her and held on. Durkin’s husband testified that he had also been bitten by Bandit.
Gilley, who took the witness stand last, testified that he suffered a traumatic brain injury and that the dog has helped him get back to normal. Gilley said he suffers from seizures and Bandit is able to detect them and help. He also testified that he has never been bitten by Bandit before nor has he used him as a weapon.
Gilley’s attorney, Matthew Albert, said that they plan to appeal the decision, which the defense has 30 days to do.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.