Two dogs in Manatee County at the center of an emotional legal battle about their status as dangerous dogs have been put down.
"Buck" and "Bill" attacked and injured a 13-year old boy in December of 2012, leaving muscles and nerves exposed.
The teen was hospitalized, and animal services seized the dogs.
The dogs' owner, Karen Erskine, said the attack was uncharacteristic of the dogs, and fought in court to keep them alive.
But this week, a judge ruled that they would have to be put down by midnight Thursday.
FOX 13's Josh Cascio reported that Erskine went into Manatee County Animal Services around 6 p.m. and that by 7 p.m., the dogs were euthanized.
Erskine came out afterward and addressed a crowd of 15 to 20 supporters.
"Buck and Bill are with God now. They are no longer with us," she said.
Right up until the very end, though, supporters held out hope.
"I've been praying for a miracle," Colleen Wayne said.
Soon, though, it became clear that after months of fighting to save the dogs, this would be the end.
"We've exhausted every avenue to keep Buck and Bill alive," Erskine said.
Around 6 p.m. supporters gathered to pray while Erskine took a slow walk inside with a veterinarian. Inside, she'd spend her last moments with them.
"I held them while they passed, and blessed their lives and let them go to God. I thanked them for being with me for the better part of a decade," she said.
The two Australian shepherds were put to sleep by court order. On Christmas Eve 2012, they got out and attacked 13 year old Justin Curtis.
His injuries were severe: seven bites to his lower body that left muscles and nerves exposed. He required surgery and stiches.
Despite that, protestors were outraged at Manatee County for putting the dogs down.
"What they're doing is wrong. It's inhumane. Those dogs are not dangerous," Wayne said.
Erskine hopes her fight over Buck and Bill will eventually lead to changes in Florida's dangerous dog statute. But for her, it comes at the highest cost.
"For me personally, this is the hardest day of my life," she said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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