Last May, Malice was taken into the custody of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL), where she was kept in a kennel for the next 22 months. The organization, which runs the city's animal control services, did not respond to requests for comment.
Only at the end of last month did an Iowa District Court judge rule the city didn't have enough evidence to keep a dog who hasn't been proven dangerous.
It was a bittersweet victory for Witbracht, as well as Jaysen McCleary and Cami Eslick of the Bela Animal Legal Defense Rescue, who had been waging the court battle since Malice was taken.
During that long confinement, while Malice's fate was being argued, Witbracht wasn't even allowed to see a picture of her dog.
"She had two birthdays in dog jail," Witbracht says, fighting back tears. "She was living under very awful, isolated conditions. She was living in the back room. That's where they keep dogs on death row."
Her daughters, 5 and 7, didn't take the loss of their beloved pet any better.