Mickey, the pit bull who mauled Kevin Vicente. (credit: Save Mickey Facebook page)

Who Let the (Killer) Dogs Out?

A pit bull that mauled a 4-year-old boy is the latest pooch to escape execution with help from the Lexus Project


A pit bull that mauled a 4-year-old boy in Arizona is about to get a new lease on life, thanks to a hotshot group of doggy defenders in the New York City area.

The canine offender, named Mickey, attacked little Kevin Vicente last month, shattering the child’s eye socket, cheek bone and jaw. But the dog dodged death row on Tuesday when a Phoenix judge decided to spare its life, instead sentencing Mickey to be defanged, neutered and microchipped.

The verdict is the latest in a string of legal victories for the Lexus Project, a group that comes to the aid of dogs accused in vicious attacks against humans and other animals. The Long Island-based nonprofit claims that in the last few years it has helped save more than 100 dogs across the country deemed “dangerous” and facing euthanasia.

“All dogs deserve to live, be loved and be cared for,” said Robin Mittasch, who runs the group with her husband, Richard Rosenthal, an attorney. “We are their voice.”

The husband-and-wife team rarely passes up the chance to jump behind a high-profile case, no matter how controversial. They cut their teeth in 2009, when they went to the legal defense of a greyhound named Lexus, who was slated for the gallows after killing a Pomeranian puppy in Rhode Island. Ultimately, the couple’s legal maneuverings earned Lexus a reprieve.

They’ve been on a roll ever since, delivering dozens of victories for dogs facing certain execution. In 2013, Rosenthal and Mittasch helped rally more than 170,000 supporters behind a yellow Labrador retriever in Missouri that was going to be euthanized for biting and dragging a 7-year-old girl. And earlier this year, they won custody of a mastiff-Rhodesian mix that had killed a toddler in Nevada.

The family of Kevin Vicente filed a vicious dog court petition against Mickey in Phoenix after the pit bull ripped into the little boy’s face on Feb. 20. The boy’s family said he had picked up a bone lying on the ground near the dog, which was kept on a chain outside.

The attack crushed multiple bones in Kevin’s face and mangled his eye socket. Doctors say Kevin could have years of reconstructive surgery ahead of him.

Still, more than 66,000 animals lovers took to social media to defend Mickey and blame the dog’s owners and the child’s babysitter, who was watching him at the time of the attack. Scores more held candlelight vigils for the dog.

A “Euthanize Mickey” Facebook page, meanwhile, managed to draw only 206 supporters, and a Change.org petition against the pit bull has just 170 signatures.

The Lexus Project lined up a pro bono attorney to defend the pit bull in court and also raised thousands of dollars for the dog’s legal defense. The group will serve as Mickey’s trustee while it seeks a rehabilitation shelter for the pooch.

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  • It should be taken case by case, in this instance the child was in the animals yard and took that animals bone away from it.. The owner should have made sure the dog was not out with strange children. But there’s always the quick jump to kill the dog. Thank god for the Lexus Project.. Pits have been given a dirty rap by the media.. Statistically pits have fewer bites than many other dogs and yet pits are demonized ..

  • 3/30/14, These pits are known risks & should not be harbored as pets. They’re unpredicable at best; many are fed gun powder & bred to fight (a la Mike Vics). No matter what anyone tells you, even the dog whisperer, certain animals are just not domesticable.

  • Someone forgot to do their fact checking when they wrote this article. 1.) Mickey isn’t a “pit bull”. He’s an American Bulldog. Not at all the same thing.2.) Kevin was unattended by his babysitter and wandered into someone else’s yard where the dog was tethered. This wasn’t a “family pet gone bad”. This was a dog on his own property who was disrupted by someone who he didn’t know.3.) Mickeys owners failed to have him neutered and had him tethered outside alone, both factors whichcan greatly affect a dog’s natural territorial instincts. Add that to instinctual resource guarding (Mickey thought the boy was trying to take away his bone) and you’re left with a dog that felt threatened and thought he was defending himself. This isn’t a “pit bull thing” like some people want you to believe. This isn’t even a “vicious dog thing”. This is a HUMAN ERROR thing. This is a tragedy that was 100% preventable, had the humans in this situation acted properly in the first place by properly supervising the poor child, and by properly caring for the dog, including neutering, training/socialization, and sipervised use of a tether. Humans are at fault here.

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    • Thanks for your input, you make good points. I thought this article was terribly biased.

  • Wow, great biased article!! Cool! Just give the bad info and smear the people who are doing free work and everyone will be on your side!The REASON that there are supporters for many of these dogs is that the people OWNING THEM were negligent, and people do not think the dogs should be killed for an owner’s neglicence. THAT is why they get so many supporters.

  • fffffffffffff

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  • These are the same people who promote our new “catch and release” program for illegal aliens, gun control, abolishing the death sentence, putting bugs on the endangerd species list and they are most likely vegetarians lobbying against the legal consumption of meat and meat products. 

  • Im betting that the same people that want a dog destroyed for attacking a person, would fight to have a person on death row  saved for murdering people. This issue isnt the dog, ive been around all types of dogs my whole life, and if you treat them right you have no issues. Just like if you continuosly abuse a human, they too eventually will snap

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    • Bull.

    • My post below belongs here.

  • The Animal Rights movement founded by the Leftist Peter Singer is and always has been morally deprave and filled with some of the vilest sociopaths in society to pretend otherwise is to be the purest definition of a fool. 

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    • That is not true with these dogs. They have killed 374 people in this country and are the leading killer of children.  They have the evil instinct to eat their victim’s faces!  I know of what I speak having been attacked by them.  See below.Come see us at The Two Minute Conservative via Google or at adrianvance.blogspot.com

  • Perhaps someone would take Kevin’s case, pro bono, and sue the dog in civil court for damages. Then a LOT of the money that was raised for the dog can be sent where it deserves – to Kevin and his recovery – rather than this perversion of the law group known as the “Lexus Project”

  • Please remove the term “pit bull”. Those poor dogs have had enough unnecessary publicity and don’t need it with a dog that isn’t even their breed. The judge ruled him to be an American Bull Dog mix. 

    2 Replies - Reply Now
    • An ambull mix is a pit bull mix.  You should look into what happened to Bones – the rescuer that took him in killed him and hid the body.These sanctuaries that the Lexus project finds are all unregulated and unvetted and usually in a different state so that the judge who ordered the disposition of the dog won’t have jurisdiction over its continuing care.  The rescues that Lexus has found leave much to be desired.  The resucer that killed Bones was operating out of  little house on a small plot of land endangering the neighbors by collecting dangerous dogs.

    • Unnecessary bad publicity?  I would like to see what you would have to say if you were attacked by two of them as was it.  Fortunately, I had a Zap stick with me and kept them off.  Then the owner called the Sheriff on me for “having an illegal tazer.”  When I told the Deputies he had the dogs to guard his Marjuana plants they arranged for a drug raid and he is on his to prison.  The dogs were later euthanized for killing another neighbor’s dog.Come see us at The Two Minute Conservative via Google or at adrianvance.blogspot.com

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      • Have you ever spent time around a trained pit, Adrian? Do you know what one is? Are we talking about apbt, amstaff, ebd, or some other breed that “fits the description”? Can you properly identify an APBT? Are you aware that it isn’t a breed recognized by AKC, rather a description of 6 breeds that have certain physical characteristics? Did you know that the statistics you provided above have been debunked time and time again (even CDC study recognized misidentified breed in a LOT of cases). Do you believe that, if the drug dealer who’s dogs attacked you had Germann Shepherds, that they wouldn’t have attacked you? You said yourself that he had the dogs to protect the Marijuana plants, so they were obviously trained to be aggressive. Would another breed have been different? 

      • Had the sitter been doing her job this would never had happened.  Had Mickeys owner given him love instead of a life of neglect and abuse on an 18′chain…THIS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED!

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      • +
      • Oops.  I think I posted this in the wrong place.  It was a general statement and not a ‘Reply’ to your post 


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