The dog who mauled a 4-year-old boy's face in February will not be destroyed, but will rather serve an unusual sentence for his crime, a Phoenix judge has ruled.

Mickey, a brown-spotted white pit bull who belonged to the boy's babysitter at the time of the attack, will instead live out his days neutered and defanged in a no-kill animal shelter.

According to the Dodo, the attack occurred when the boy ventured into the sitter's backyard where Mickey was chained. The dog locked onto the boy's face for several minutes; the boy required extensive surgeries, but is recovering.

Both the boy's family and Mickey's owners were willing to have the dog euthanized, but doctors convinced the judge that "there are a lot of adults responsible" for Mickey's behavior: Being chained, outside, unneutered, in Phoenix was a recipe for aggression, she concluded, handing down a life sentence instead of destruction.

The assistant Maricopa County manager agreed, telling the Arizona Republic:

If we all, as pet owners, take the time to think about our lifestyle and the type of breed we're attempting to acquire, then euthanasia will not be a problem for (dogs with) aggression. It's simply uneducated or uninformed selections of dogs that cause these animals to find themselves in a situation where they ... hurt someone.

In an ironic twist, Mickey will serve out his term in a shelter run by controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who will presumably treat the dog better than he treats his human inmates.

[h/t The Dodo]