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Thursday, August 11, 2022

America’s top death row lawyer FOR DOGS works to save condemned pets

Everyone deserves a good lawyer, even man’s best friend, according to Richard Rosenthal, a man who represents dogs who people want euthanized. 

Rosenthal most famously was able to get a Nevada mastiff named Onion off the hook after he killed his owner’s 1-year-old son after the baby went up to the sleeping 120-pound dog and grabbed him. 

After a nearly two-year legal skirmish, Onion was released to an out-of-state rescue thanks to Rosenthal, who was inspired to leave family and criminal law to work with animals.

The child’s grandmother, despite losing her grandson, was adamant that the dog not be euthanized. The county dropped the case rather than make the family appear in court.

‘In Onion’s case, it was an unfortunate accident,’ Rosenthal told the Boston Globe. ‘It was a horrible tragedy. But there was nothing vicious about it.’ 

The Long Island-based Rosenthal is extremely passionate, as the case of a Connecticut golden retriever named Buddy shows.

The state wanted the death penalty for Buddy after he’d knocked down an older woman. The woman’s son also wanted Buddy euthanized. 

Rosenthal used The Lexus Project – his nonprofit providing legal representation for dogs – as a bully pulpit, even using images of the gates of Auschwitz photoshopped onto the Milford, Connecticut town seal. 

Everyone deserves a good lawyer, even man’s best friend, according to Richard Rosenthal, a man who represents dogs who people want euthanized

Rosenthal most famously was able to get a Nevada mastiff named Onion off the hook after he killed his owner's 1-year-old son after the baby went up to the sleeping 120-pound dog and grabbed him

Rosenthal most famously was able to get a Nevada mastiff named Onion off the hook after he killed his owner’s 1-year-old son after the baby went up to the sleeping 120-pound dog and grabbed him

Rosenthal (pictured far right) working with the Lexus Project in the case of Onion

Rosenthal (pictured far right) working with the Lexus Project in the case of Onion

The child's grandmother, despite losing her grandson, was adamant that the dog not be euthanized. The county dropped the case rather than make the family appear in court

The child’s grandmother, despite losing her grandson, was adamant that the dog not be euthanized. The county dropped the case rather than make the family appear in court

As the lawyer puts it, ‘I can’t say enough bad things about Connecticut. They’ve never met a dog they didn’t want to kill.’

The method proved effective, as Buddy was allowed to live, provided he be removed from the state immediately.

The Lexus Project dates back to 2009, when prosecutors demanded the death penalty after Lexus had been accused of killing a Pomeranian at a dog park. 

Rosenthal threatened to turn it into a ‘federal case’ until the pooch was saved, again, provided it leave the state. 

He half-seriously calls the case his first ‘get-out-of-town-by-sundown order,’ his methods not making him the most popular man in the area. 

The Lexus Project dates back to 2009, when prosecutors demanded the death penalty after Lexus had been accused of killing a Pomeranian at a dog park

The Lexus Project dates back to 2009, when prosecutors demanded the death penalty after Lexus had been accused of killing a Pomeranian at a dog park

'In my cases, there is a dog or cat that's going to die if I don't win,' he said. 'So to me, I need to win the case'

‘In my cases, there is a dog or cat that’s going to die if I don’t win,’ he said. ‘So to me, I need to win the case’

Rosenthal founded The Lexus Project with wife Robin Mittasch and immediately began receiving casework.  

He unironically calls himself a ‘hired gun’ who works on cases like veterinary malpractice and most importantly, so-called ‘dangerous dogs’, even comparing himself to Darth Vader. 

Rosenthal said: ‘If I take a case, it’s about winning. I take it because I believe in it,’ adding that he’ll get in the face of politicians and animal control officers to help his clients.  

Not everyone loves his work, with even some animal rights activists blushing at some of his actions. He claims to have gotten death threats over Onion’s case.  

Rosenthal also eschews what many progressive animal lawyers do, which is argue for the ‘personhood’ of an animal, or at the very least that they are not merely property.

‘In my cases, there is a dog or cat that’s going to die if I don’t win,’ he said. ‘So to me, I need to win the case.’

He says he takes about 20 to 30 cases a year, making most of his money on custody battles over pets. 

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