A 4-year-old pit bull mix sentenced to death after an attack on fellow dogs has been granted an unusual path to a reprieve, possible reality-TV show fame.
A Circuit Court judge in Tennessee signed an order Monday sparing Prada from death on the condition that the animal spend the rest of her life at the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans, the rescue center featured in Animal Planet’s reality-TV show “Pitt Bulls and Parolees.”
The order comes after a year-long fight to keep the dog alive waged by her owner, Nicole Andree, 35, that sparked an outcry from animal lovers around the world.
Prada was in the care of Andree, a Tennessee real estate agent, when she escaped from her home and attacked several dogs in an upscale Nashville neighborhood in January 2011, according to the Associated Press.
After three different rulings from attorneys for the city of Nashville declared Prada a public safety threat and order her euthanized, Andree launched a social media campaign to save her adopted dog.
More than 11,000 people signed a petition asking the state’s governor, Bill Haslam, to save the pit bull
“It restored my faith in humanity,” Andree said today of the response, which included more than $6,000 in donations that Andree put toward the $17,000 in legal fees she estimated she has spent in the yearlong battle.
Gov. Haslam deferred the issue to the courts where Andree kept up her fight, going through five attorneys before being represented pro bono by local Nashville attorney Jean Harrison, who suggested that Prada be sent to the rescue center instead of die.
Andree’s plea – she argued that Prada was being discriminated against because of her pit bull lineage – reached Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley Jr., who agreed that Prada could live on at the Villalobos Rescue Center, which pairs ex-convicts with abused dogs for rehabilitation, as long as Andree agreed to permanently give up ownership of her dog.
“I’m very happy,” Andree said. “At the same time, it’s a bittersweet win. She was my kid. At 35 years old, I have no children and she was my kid.”
Prada must move to the center within two weeks and stay there the rest of her life, according to Binkley’s order.
Andree says she and her family have founded the Andre Animal Army/Prada Foundation using leftover donations from Prada’s rescue to help save other dogs from death row. The foundation is named in honor of her dad, who died of a heart attack Easter Sunday.
“‘Get the dog,’ he’d say, ‘just get the dog,’” Andree said of her father.
The “Pitt Bulls and Parolees” show is a feature of the Saturday night lineup on Animal Planet and was just renewed for another season by the network. The show follows the “turbulent drama and bittersweet moments of Tia Torres, her family and her crew of ex-convicts as they come together to rescue and rehabilitate abused and abandoned pit bulls,” according to its website.