The Dog Blog

A Central Florida dog blog, rescues in specific.

If we saved Rufus, why couldn’t we save Buck and Bill?

UPDATE: Sadly, Buck and Bill were put down late Thursday evening, according to the rescue effort’s Facebook page.

As I write this post, my heart is breaking.


Some of you may know about Buck and Bill– two Australian Shepherds that bit a 13 year old boy in December of 2012. (you read that right, over a year ago). There is all sorts of controversy surrounding this case- perhaps you remember the save rufus campaign? Well, that worked..

This time, it doesn’t appear the animal community is going to be as lucky.

Sadly, as I type, Karen Erskine, the dogs’ mom, has to say goodbye to her beloved animals. Her “kids” as she called them—(as we all call them, because that’s what they are). But.. she may have to say goodbye, standing outside the building, on the other side of a fence… She was told she’d have thirty minutes with them, would be able to hold them, and tell them she loved them, but sadly- that might have been taken from her. The controversy surrounding the case has spiraled out of control, and at the moment- they won’t even let her take their remains home for a proper burial. Can you imagine!? Your furbabies, being ripped from you, not being able to hold them as they die, and then not being able to take them home to bury?

Karen with Buck, and Bill- taken from their FB page.

Karen with Buck, and Bill- taken from their FB page.

Being from Bradenton, Florida, where this tragedy has taken over the city’s news- I’m embarrassed, and ashamed.

Now- before anyone goes crazy, and calls me names, or tells me I care more about animals than I do about humans.. (well, in some instances you’d be right), but in this case—the boy and his family are opposed to this. EVEN THEY didn’t want to see the dogs die- his father stated on National television that this was a “forgive and forget” situation. That’s when things get jumbled in my head, and I start getting teary, and my blood pressure rises.

I’m shocked that it’s getting as much publicity as it is—these are two Australian shepherds. They’re not pitbulls. Usually “dog-maulings” are only reported when it’s a bullybreed. Much like the save Rufus case, (he is a beagle), the publicity and support that ensued was amazing. It makes me proud to be part of such a community- but I’m still confused by it.

If you’re doing your research on dog bites right now- there is another parallel case, revolving around Mickey– a gorgeous white, pitbull mix that bit a boy for taking a bone away from him (slaps forehead).. in this case- the family of the child are DESPERATE for JUSTICE.. They want the dog euthanized. But instead- he’s being sent to a rehabilitation center for the rest of his life, is being neutered, and having his canine teeth removed (now, I think that’s a super weird verdict, but he gets to live, and will have a pretty damn good life—especially if he’s going to best friends in Utah*)  So.. I can’t quite wrap my head around Buck and Bill.

I realize we’re in two different states. I realize it’s two completely different cases, but in these parallel situations, why are the outcomes so drastically different? Any insight into the differences in the outcome would be welcome..but please keep your comments polite. This is a family-(fur and otherwise)-friendly blog.

*not confirmed.

If you want to follow the facebook page: here is the link 


If you want to email the local government officials, and make a plea for their lives, or at the very least their remains to be buried at their home: please send POLITE emails to:



  1. my heart is broken for Karen and B&B…my tears are flowing and my heart is broken. The law is broken, the judges, attorneys, and commisioners have failed us all but mostly them as it is costing them their lives. These two beautiful dogs, gorgeous dogs are dying an untimely death and in a manner we will probably never know as a necrospy has already been denied as has Karen collecting the ashes. This is corruption at its best. Buck & Bill, almost, if not 10,000 people rallied for you. Various people from varies states, hell, from various countries have your back. We promise you to continue to fight for your justice. This can not be laid to rest with you, we must get the laws changed and get the bad ones voted out! We will do so in your honor Buck & Bill.

    • Dogs=kids? Owner=mom? Wingnut thinking printed for all to see.
      btw, if your dog bites me or my 5 year old you won’t have to call animal control.

      • thanks so much for your comment! I’m not sure if you’re calling me a wingnut, or calling yourself, or Kerri one? Either way- i’m thankful we live in a society where we can have differing view points on such matters.. As an example- your name is “dogsarejustanimals”, I agree they are animals, wholeheartedly, but i don’t believe they are *JUST* animals. To me, they’re family members- i consider my pets my kids.. just like Karen- so yep, i guess that makes me their mom! Speaking of family members- i’ll be sure to not let my dogs near your 5 year old.. my dogs, much like most, would only bite if seriously provoked, and i don’t want them to endure anything similar to that. Thanks for stopping by, and showing your support for the blog!

        • Hey Lauren I wanted to share this with you and ask whats the difference???

          • this is fascinating. thank you so much for sharing it. I had actually forgotten about this case…

            One HUGE difference, that i can see- is that the owner of the dog is a Florida rep, as opposed to Karen, who isn’t.

            Was this dog destroyed? (i pray she wasn’t), but I really can’t wrap my head around the legislation/decisions in these cases. Rufus, Mickey, and Scarlett bit someone in the face, which according to Orange County (i do not know other counties law), any bite above the shoulders are automatically reported to Animal Services, and animals are removed from the home for further review. In Rufus’s case, the child scared him during meal time. In Mickey’s case, the child took a bone from him. Who knows what provoked Scarlett- but i’m sure it was something. Much like Buck and Bill, there had to be some sort of provocation in this case that went unnoticed, or unreported, or unacknowledged. Two well behaved, “hero” dogs don’t just jump out of a window and attack an innocent kid on a bike. There is more to this story- and sadly, we’ll probably never know it. I appreciate your comment!

      • Are you implying that you, yourself will kill the dog and possibly the owner?! Ha! Maybe you should do all of us a favor….get a leash for your kid and a muzzle for YOUR mouth! Tootles

      • dogsarejustanimals- your way of thinking is precisely what is wrong with animal laws in this country. You must be a redneck hunter!

        • Thanks for your comment Linda! I appreciate your support, and I know Karen does as well. Everyone *is* entitled to their own beliefs, and rights.. I’m glad we live in a society where we can openly express them.

    • Hi Kerri- thanks for your comment.. you’re so right on. I’m heartbroken for Karen, and sad at the injustice that was served to her. I’m embarrassed for the politicians that handled this so poorly in Manatee County… no compassion, no civility- just pure injustice. I appreciate your comment!

  2. This is terribly wrong!

    • sigh.. i know- it’s truly a heartbreaking event.. I’m so sad at the outcome. Thanks for your comment, and letting me know you were here.

  3. This is so sad. A tragedy that they wouldn’t even allow the dogs to live when the father of the boy who was bitten didn’t even want them destroyed.

    I read the PDF of the final decision, which states that the dogs’ ashes are to be given to their “mom”, so I don’t understand why the article is stating that she is being refused their remains. If the county is going against the court order stating she can have their remains, she should be able to sue the county if they’re not following the court’s written decision and orders.

    Rest in Peace, Buck and Bill!

    • Hi Mel, i so appreciate your note, and REALLY appreciate you including the PDF of the court order.. it’s amazing news if their remains are going to be given to Karen. Everything I’ve heard thus far, has said it’s not county code to deliver the remains, so they wouldn’t make an exception for Buck and Bill. This would be at least, a small, small olive branch for the tragedy that ensued. Thanks for stopping by, and letting me know you were here.

      • You’re welcome!
        By the way, it would be great if you could do a piece about why dog parks shouldn’t allow non-neutered dogs. Intact males have a particular odor that causes neutered dogs to believe they are a threat. Any person who brings their intact male to a dog park is putting them in harm’s way.

        • This is a great suggestion Mel.. I’ll do some research on it, and get a blog up. We’ve stopped going to dog parks, solely because of the huge question marks that exist.. I’m a firm believer that it’s typically the owner, and not the dog- and a lot of times, i feel like dog parks are daycare for some dogs.. parents drop them off, and leave, or read a book, or talk on the phone, and aren’t engaged with their animal; that doesn’t sit well with me. If you have any other suggestions, i’d LOVE to hear them.

          • Great! I look forward to reading it. It’s most certainly the owners 99% of the time. I’ll drop you a line if I have any other ideas.

        • Mel: Where are you getting this info about an odor coming from non-neutered dogs?
          My dog is NOT neutered and he’s a 2YO Siberian Husky who is calm and playful. I refuse to have him neutered and he is not a threat to other dogs!!

          • The scent of testosterone that only dogs can smell. I’m not saying that a human’s nose can detect it. My neutered dog can smell an intact male from a mile away. So far as I’ve researched, the later in life a dog is neutered, the more hatred they have for intact males. My dog was found as a stray when he was 3 and neutered at the shelter. He gets along with all dogs, but he wants to rid the planet of all intact males. I’ve spoken to a lot of people whose neutered dogs respond aggressively towards intact males. It’s really just safer for all if intact males aren’t allowed to be around neutered dogs they aren’t familiar with.
            Thanks again for blogging about doggie topics!

          • hi! thanks for your comment- i think you misunderstood Mel’s comment- She’s saying bringing an unaltered dog to a dog park puts THEM at risk, as it triggers aggression in altered males. I’ll be honest- i hadn’t heard of this either- but after a quick google search- i found this code of conduct for a specific dog park: “UN-NEUTERED DOGS. I personally don’t care if male dogs still carry their crown jewels or not. Surprisingly, a lot of people do care and react funny. Unaltered males tend to roam, are less responsive to their owner’s commands, and can trigger aggression in neutered males. Besides preventing the birth of unwanted puppies, “altering” your dog can mellow out his or her temperament, increase longevity, and promote a happier relationship between you and your dog.”

            I am curious, why you are so opposed to neutering your fella, no judgement at all, i’m just curious.

          • Lauren: I have a purebred Siberian Husky. I think they are just beautiful, beautiful dogs. I want him to have puppies at some point. That’s the main reason why I did not get him neutered. He stays in the house and I only walk him while he’s on the leash so I won’t let him bring any unwanted puppies into this world.

  4. This is so heartbreaking I can’t stop thinking about these two … herding dogs “nip”. I don’t know how bad the bite was (haven’t seen pics) but heard it wasn’t that severe. I have a 6 foot fenced yard and a Border Mix, a Chow-collie and a Chow-Basset. Chows like to mouth – they put your hand or arm in their mouth to get attention. They are not as bad as when their were a puppy or first rescued – but it still happens when they get excited. I am SO paranoid about some dumb ass kid running up to my dogs and them wanting to play and knock them down – or being startled – or “mouthing” for attention … that I only walk my dogs at night. Some people are so afraid of dogs you never know what they will interpret or report and I could NEVER bear losing my dog – let alone to such an incredible injustice. It seems the politicians were out to prove the bleeding hearts of FB will not be treated to their pressure. Its a real nail in the coffin to online social media awareness. Its a completely unfair decision that just doesn’t make any sense. But even the best dog parents can accidentally leave a gate open … I pray that it never happens to me … but its just SOOOOOOOOOOOO important to contain your pets. I think we must all be a lot more paranoid and aware of our pets protection. Never let your guard down with your pets and children … NEVER.

    • Dawn I told Tim last night, this could have happened to us! We have a herder too- she mouths people; some people take it that she’s “going to attack”, but we know she’s just telling them where to go. But God forbid she did it to the wrong person or child- we could have easily been in the very same situation. It’s just a tragedy, and was handled so so so poorly.. I feel it was a huge loss for the animal community- let alone Karen herself. I can not imagine what she’s going through right now.

      Thanks so much for your comment.

  5. I feel so sad for Karen. I have read everything I could find on this and I truly believe that those dogs were either provoked or spooked, reacted instinctively when the kid (which he admitted) used his bike to push the dogs away and may have actually made his injury worse by his action. I’m not in any way blaming the child, I am sure at that point he was frightened. I think the media made matters bad by reporting ‘serious injury’, ‘attacked’, ‘vicious’ in their respective stories. Have been an Emergency Room nurse for years, dog bites look worse than regular lacerations….but from what I read and pictures I saw the kid got seven stitches, had several small dressings and was well enough to go camping and hiking the next week. None of those things scream serious, vicious, attack to me. The authorities had many options that did not require killing the dogs. No where did I read that those dogs were even temperament tested by a qualified canine expert. At least two of those judges involved come up for re-election November 2014. I pray Manatee County residents who are as appalled by their decisions as many of the rest of the country are in this matter vote them off the bench!


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