Some say she's a champion for animals, others say she's nuts - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Some say she's a champion for animals, others say she's nuts

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

Remember the firestorm caused over Mickey the pit bull-mix?

Some people were so passionate, they started campaigns to save him.

Mickey was ultimately saved and people have moved on, but others continue the battle for animals in need.

We met a valley woman crazy about animals -- some say she's a champion, others say she's nuts.

She was often at the forefront of the firestorm over Mickey and says pit bulls are a breed that's depicted unfairly.

Veronica Lee is an aesthetician who spends her extra time helping animals in trouble around the valley.

"My passion is being the voice of animals that can't speak up, whether it be a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a ferret, a horse or animal that can't speak up," she said.

In the Mickey case, Lee helped raise funds for the dog's defense, attended every court hearing and organized vigils to save Mickey.

Some dub people like Lee "Nutters."

N-U-T-T-E-R-S -- loosely it's someone who is crazy about an animal -- they put the animal above all else, even other humans.

Lee and others were accused of putting Mickey the dog's interests over Kevin Vicente -- the child.

One blogger wrote in part, "And the nutters come out of the woodwork by the thousands -- money money money -- and up goes the Facebook page to save Mickey the pit bull... but what about the victim?"

Lee says she felt horrible for 4-year-old Kevin, whose jaw and eye socket were crushed when Mickey attacked.

Kevin had picked up Mickey's bone while in his babysitter's yard and the dog attacked him.

"I'm not blaming the child and I'm not blaming the dog," she said.  "Had the child been properly supervised, this wouldn't have happened."

Despite a petition filed to have Mickey declared vicious and euthanized, a Phoenix judge ordered the dog be neutered, de-fanged and placed in a facility where he will not be adopted out to a family.

Kevin is out of the hospital, but has a long road to recovery.

Lee continues helping animals. Her SUV is packed with pet bowls, leashes and more.

"Have like little bags made up of dog food, doggie booties so their feet don't burn, which it might not help them, but I have to try.. dog food and water," she said.

She and dozens of others respond to calls for help for animals morning and night.

"I went out to look for a dog  because they put an S.O.S. out  on these Facebook pages that we're members of.  If somebody says there's a dog in the freeway, I get in the car and go look."

Much simpler than the battle over Mickey which became downright ugly.  Lee says she received death threats, but would do it again for an animal in need.

Call her what you will.

"So we are nuts about this abuse.  We are nuts for speaking up, perhaps, but somebody has to be willing to have a label.  If that's what I am, that's what I am."

Mickey remains with Maricopa Animal Care and Control.  The final decision on where he will go will be made by a Phoenix city judge on April 29.

The dog's attorney says right now, it looks like Mickey could end up at Sheriff Joe Arpaio's MASH unit for animals at Maricopa County Jail.

The sheriff has said he wants Mickey and will go to court to testify about why the facility at the jail is a good place for the dog to go.

We'll follow up when it happens.

 

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