85-year-old Donal Rogers's beloved dog Kim is set to be put down after "nipping" a passerby outside of her owner's home in Co Roscommon about two months ago.
An online petition named "Save Kim" has gone viral in the few days since Co Kerry woman Assumpta Gaffney launched it on Monday night after seeing a Gript.ie story about the situation shared online.
"I read it with disgust and then started scrolling through the comments," Gaffney told IrishCentral. "Lots seemed to be asking if there was a petition set up. There wasn’t, so I decided to try and create one. It was much easier than I thought. I shared it to the group where the story was posted and it took off from there."
At the time of publication on Friday, Gaffney's online petition on Change.org has garnered 39,205 signatures, a figure that is steadily growing. According to Change.org, once a petition receives 50,000 signatures, it becomes one of the top-signed on the platform.
Rogers, 85, is reportedly "heartbroken" at the prospect of his Jack Russell Terrier being put down.
He recently told Gript.ie how one Sunday morning about two months ago, Kim, who has no history of biting, was laying in front of his secluded house when a group of strangers came down the road walking.
Kim "ran out on the road, and she nipped the person on the leg," Rogers said. He says he immediately apologized when the husband of the woman who was nipped came to his door.
“I offered to take her to hospital,” Rogers said, “but she refused to travel with me.”
The woman, who is in her 60s, was taken to hospital by a neighbor of Rogers and had her wound treated before being sent home.
However, Rogers soon after received a court summons in relation to the incident. In subsequent hearings, the woman who was bitten demanded that Kim be destroyed.
Rogers offered to compensate the woman, but the woman refused. An order for Kim to be put down was granted, but is currently being appealed.
Gaffney tells IrishCentral that she feels the more signatures her petition gets "may positively impact the outcome."
“I believe that with discussion, a resolution could be reached that wouldn’t involve taking the life of this little dog,” Gaffney said.
"Irish people are a nation of animal lovers," she added, "and I think that this story has pulled on the heart strings of everyone who has ever owned a dog.
"There has to be a better solution than the extinguishing of this little life which will leave the elderly owner heartbroken."