FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) –Iraq War veteran Steven Woods said he has his 4-year-old pitbull Mimi to thank for helping him cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Woods said he was on a mission from Tikrit to Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated and ejected him from his vehicle.
“I am depressed, chronic back pain, anxiety,” Woods said.
Aside from drugs like hydrocodone and diazepam, Woods said Mimi was a form of stress relief that helped him deal with other people. But four weeks ago, Mimi was taken away by the city of Fort Worth.
He said a neighbor accused Mimi of biting him in July.
On Veteran’s Day, a two-day court battle ended with a judge labeling Mimi a “dangerous dog.”
A judge gave Woods 15 days to pay a $500 dangerous dog registration fee, the impounding fees of $12 a day for six weeks, the cost to neuter Mimi, build a six foot fence and purchase a $100,000 liability insurance policy. If he doesn’t come up with the money, Woods said the dog will be put down.
“I only get $779 in disability benefits,” Woods said.
Woods has secured Tarrant County attorney Randy Turner to help with the case on a pro-bono basis.
Turner said it was unfortunate he couldn’t help Woods out in court, but thinks the city could help him out with the financial hardship.
“It seems to me that would be a small thing for the city to do in recognition of what this man has done for his country,” Turner said.
CBS 11 contacted the city and they said they would be able to help Woods work off the cost of impoundment and a grant through the city could help cover the cost of neutering.
They said they would not, however, waive the cost of the dangerous dog registration fee. The dog would still be subject to quarterly check-ins.
“I don’t want my dog to die,” Turner said. “I really don’t.”