I was contacted by numerous advocates about the situation of a precious life that hangs in the balance, hinging on a decision resting in the hands of the Township of Bloomfield, N.J. on Thursday. Voices are desperately needed to help save the life of Memphis, an innocent dog being held at the city shelter, until the final decision regarding his fate is made. A petition is currently circulating to ask that he be allowed to go to the loving home that is waiting for him, and voices are needed in e-mail pleas for the same.
Memphis appears to be yet another victim of breedism. He is a Pit Bull, and for that reason, the mindset of those in authority seem to have been already been made up about this sweet boy. With no bite history, no history whatsoever of aggression of any kind, Memphis was evaluated on the orders of the Township of Bloomfield Health Department, which oversees the city shelter, and deemed to be unadoptable based upon the results. What makes this so incredibly sad, is that the things that Memphis reacted to in that evaluation are things that any dog would react to. In just one example, a stranger in a hooded sweatshirt stormed into the room and yelled at Memphis for no reason. Memphis reacted by barking and lunging. The question is, what dog would not react in such a manner under similar circumstances?
Hearing about the plight of this dog, Jeff Coltenback, the founder of Pitty Rescue, Inc., who is an experienced dog behaviorist and trainer with years of experience, wanted to try to save this precious boy. He offered to evaluate and train Memphis, in order to ensure that he could be able to be adopted into a loving family. The Township agreed that he could train Memphis, but refused to allow him to do a separate independent evaluation of Memphis. To accomplish the training, Jeff had to sign a five-page legal and binding contract that would allow him to do so at his own expense; being held liable for any expenses relating to Memphis during that time.
In a telephone interview with Jeff, he told me about the events that occurred when Memphis came to live with him and his wife for eight days. As part of any proper training for a dog of any age, Jeff wanted Memphis to receive socialization skills. To that end, he took Memphis out to meet other dogs, cats, children, as well as other adults. These encounters were with the full permission and knowledge of the circumstances by those that Memphis encountered. During all of this, never at any time did Memphis exhibit any aggressive reactions. He was easily refocused, and completely obedient to Jeff. Memphis reacted with joyous curiosity, and a clear desire to be loved and to belong.
Much to Jeff's horror, the Township notified him that by conducting these socialization efforts, he had put the public in danger, and he was ordered to immediately return Memphis to the shelter. This poor dog had spent eight glorious days in the loving home of a real family, only to be ripped away and thrown back into a cage. Jeff was doing everything he could to help Memphis become the best dog that he could possibly be. As any guardian knows, socialization is a crucial element in that process. Now Memphis sits alone in a kennel, wondering what he has done wrong, while Jeff and his wife are heartbroken over the entire matter.
Many of you will remember Jeff's name from the story of Lennox. Jeff had tried in vain to get the Belfast City Council to allow Lennox to come to the United States to live with him. He has vast experience in dog behavior, and most especially with the bully breeds.
After the time they spent with Memphis, both Jeff and his wife fell in love with him, and they told the Township members they want to formally adopt him. It is crystal clear to anyone that Jeff is the perfect person to adopt Memphis.
Common sense would dictate that the Township would have no problem with Jeff adopting Memphis. Instead, however, a public hearing is being held on Thursday by the Township of Bloomfield Health Department, to decide Memphis' fate. If Jeff's request is denied, and if no qualified sanctuary comes forward to take him, Memphis will be killed.
A petition is currently circulating, asking the Township of Bloomfield Health Department to please allow Memphis to be adopted by Jeff Coltenback and his wife. Voices are also being requested by way of e-mails in support of Jeff's attempt to adopt Memphis as well. Please take a moment to sign the petition and send e-mails in support of Jeff's plea to adopt Memphis. You can access the petition here, or at the link provided below. The contact information for e-mails of support is also provided at the end of the article.
If you live in the Bloomfield, N.J. area and can attend the meeting on Thursday to show your support, please do so. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the following address:
Township of Bloomfield
1 Municipal Plaza
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Please do whatever you can to raise your voices in support of Jeff Coltenback, and help Memphis to be adopted into this wonderful loving forever home. Advocates have watched with aching hearts as innocent lives have been lost to the horrors of breedism over the years. We must speak up, speak out, and be heard to save Memphis' life. He is an innocent victim, and he deserves to have the loving home that is being offered to him by Jeff Coltenback and his family.
Hold on Memphis, advocates are working hard on your behalf to help you to finally come home.
Link for petition:
E-mail contact information:
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