There was no resolution for the fate of a pit bull named Memphis, after a couple appeared before the Bloomfield Board of Health and asked to adopt the dog.
The Bloomfield Board of Health discussed various options during a held Thursday night. Recently, the fate of the dog, whom a local couple has been rigorously trying to adopt, had been up in the air.
Jeff Coltenback, owner of Paradise Pets and founder of the Pitty Rescue organization, appeared before the Board of Health in an effort to convince officials into letting him permanently adopt the pit bull. Coltenback expressed relief that the dog would not be put to sleep. "As much as my wife and I love him, saving him has always been are top priority," he said.
One of the options on the table would be allowing a third-party to evaluate the dog’s behavior. Coltenback said he previously contacted the township via email, offering to pay for the evaluation services of Jim Crosby, a behaviorist and evaluator from Florida, in conjunction with the NJSPCA.
The saga first began back in February after Memphis was brought into the Bloomfield Animal Shelter as a stray. After an evaluation, the dog was deemed unadoptable due to concerns about its behavior.
In March, however, the township allowed Coltenback to train the dog in his own home.
In exchange, Coltenback was required to sign legal documents agreeing to incur both the costs and legal liability associated with housing the dog. During this period of time, Coltenback said he socialized the dog by allowing it to interact with friends and family members.
Coltenback insists that nothing he did with the dog posed a safety hazard to the community. "The health department was well aware that family and friends were going to help me".
Coltenback also described preventitive measures he took to ensure that the dog was kept away from strangers while in public. "When I was walking down the street and saw a passerby, I would cross the street," he said.
Eight days later, the dog was ordered back to the shelter due to concerns that it was a danger to the public.
News of Coltenback's fight to adopt Memphis has spread virally across the Internet garnering support from thousands all over the globe in recent days. As of press time, a digital petition boasts over 11,000 signatures in favor of the dog's adoption. A 'Save Memphis' Facebook page has also been established with over 600 members.
The tremendous amount of support through social media is not lost on Clotenback. "When I saw it hit ten thousand [votes] last night, my wife and I began crying hysterically because its heart warming and it's touching," he said.
"I try to help anyway I can and that's all I was doing here," he said.