Orange County mayor to meet with family of Rufus

Mayor Teresa Jacobs asks for 4-year-old's medical records after Rufus' bite

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs appears to be mediating between the family of Rufus, the 1-year-old beagle that bit the owner's 4-year-old son's lip and was scheduled to be euthanized, and Animal Services, according to a statement released Thursday.

Jacobs is asking for the medical records of owner Nikki West's son, Chazz, who was bitten by Rufus in the lip on April 9, forcing West to turn over Rufus to Orange County Animal Services.

"We have asked Ms. West to provide us with the medical records from her son's hospital visit to corroborate her recent account that his injury was minor," Jacobs said. "The initial report, based on the family's account, indicated a more serious injury which left the Animal Services officer with no choice but to take custody of Rufus."

After learning the dog would be put down, the family changed its mind about surrendering Rufus, but animal services would not return the dog. Rufus is still being held at the Orange County Animal Shelter.

Jacobs also said Orange County staff is arranging a meeting with West and her attorney to settle the issue.

"I'm an animal lover, so I would like nothing more than to quickly resolve this matter for everyone concerned including Rufus," Jacobs said. "I'm still hopeful we can find a solution that's in the best interests of everyone involved."

West's attorney earlier filed an injunction to keep Rufus from being euthanized. Since the appeal was filed, a hearing will be held and a judge will determine what happens to Rufus.

More than 88,000 people have signed an online petition in an effort to keep the dog from being put down.

Earlier this week, Chazz visited with Rufus and over the weekend, Jacobs visited.

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