A large dog named "Cash" and his suitability for adoption are the subject of a lawsuit pitting a prominent Healdsburg restaurateur against the Healdsburg Animal Shelter.
Chef Douglas Keane of Cyrus Restaurant, whose efforts to adopt the 110-pound Mastiff/pitbull mix were rebuffed by the shelter, is seeking a court order to prevent the dog from being euthanized.
Cash initially was described as a "Gentle Giant" on the shelter's website — solid muscle on the outside, but on the inside, "all squishy softness with a heart of gold and a desire to please."
But concerned by signs of aggression, shelter officials recently withdrew Cash from adoption despite Keane's desire to take responsibility for the dog.
Keane, who has worked as a shelter volunteer and just became licensed as a dog trainer, wanted to adopt Cash and take him to an animal care facility to help socialize him.
"He's a great dog that needs some work," Keane said Wednesday.
Shelter Executive Director Julie Seal said Cash has not bitten a human, but is not a safe dog.
The neutered pet was brought to the shelter last summer by owners who did not feel comfortable having him around their baby, according to Seal.
"He also is extremely dog aggressive," she said in a memo to shelter directors.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday raises questions about the shelter's kill policy, stating that it has on previous occasions euthanized animals that could have been rehabilitated.