Bloomfield Pit Bull Memphis Given Temporary Reprieve at Board of Health Meeting

A view of the crowd attending the Bloomfield Board of Health meeting on August 16. (Photo courtesy of Geoff Gove).

Well over 100 animal lovers from around the state flocked to the Bloomfield Board of Health meeting held Thursday evening at the Bloomfield Civic Center to show their support for Memphis, a pit bull deemed unadoptable by the Health Department due to concerns that he would endanger the public. After a long and contentious meeting, the Board decided to give Memphis more time to be rehabilitated before deciding on his fate.

Prior to the public comment period, members of the Board stated that their priority is the safety of the public and that all decisions pertaining to Memphis would be based on that fact.

Memphis, who came to the Bloomfield Animal Shelter as a stray in February, showed concerning behavior shortly after he arrived, according to Karen Lore, Director of the Bloomfield Health & Human Services Department, which oversees the shelter.

She explained during the meeting that the shelter sent Memphis to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison for a professional evaluation to confirm the initial perceptions of his temperament. As a result of this evaluation, Memphis was deemed to be a problem dog and considered unadoptable due to signs of aggression or agitation around other dogs and hostile strangers.

The shelter management began looking for a trainer who could take Memphis and rehabilitate him so that he could pass the temperament evaluation and become adoptable.

Jeff Coltenback, a certified dog trainer who owns Paradise Pet in Bloomfield and operates a registered 501(c)(3) pit bull rescue, Pitty Rescue, Inc., offered to take Memphis after meeting him at the shelter. The township attorney drew up a contract that he signed, taking on full responsibility for Memphis during the training period.

However, after just eight days with the Coltenback family, the Health Department became aware that Coltenback was letting Memphis interact directly with other people, including children, and the township attorney advised that the dog should be returned to the shelter as he was “a danger to the public.”

According to Coltenback, once he was in his home, Memphis showed no signs of aggression or any concerning behavior whatsoever; in fact, he stated that Memphis behaved perfectly around people of all ages, other dogs, cats, rats and even birds.

Former volunteers who have worked with Memphis have also stated he never showed any aggression in their experience. One, Nellie Reynolds, was quoted on the Save the Bloomfield Shelter Facebook page. She said: “Memphis always displayed a calm, friendly and eager-to-please demeanor. He sat nicely for treats and took them gently from my hand. When Staff had him out on leash I was able to pet and even give him a gentle hug… We, as experienced dog handling volunteers, had no reservation about him.”

Once returned to the Bloomfield Animal Shelter from the Coltenback home, Memphis was sent to St. Hubert’s for another evaluation. In the meantime, the Coltenbacks had applied to adopt the dog, submitting an application with twelve letters of recommendation to the shelter.

On August 11, the Health Department announced via the “official” shelter Facebook page that Memphis had had his second evaluation and said it would be discussed at the August 16 Board of Health meeting, leaving the Coltenbacks and all of Memphis’ supporters wondering about the outcome.

The story, in the meantime, had gone viral on Facebook and other social media sites. A Facebook Causes petition was created, and by the time the Board of Health meeting took place, over 11,000 people from all over the world had signed the petition, and many had contacted Bloomfield officials pleading for Memphis to be allowed to go back home with Jeff Coltenback and his wife Diana.

The publicity attracted a standing-room-only crowd of supporters that included dog trainers, pit bull advocates and members of the rescue community, as well as people who have adopted or fostered shelter dogs. Members of the Prayers for Patrick group and The Patrick Miracle were represented, among others. The supporters came from Bloomfield, but also from Kearny, Parsippany, Sparta, and even farther away. One woman drove two hours each way to attend the meeting.

Jeff Coltenback addressing the Board of Health. (Photo courtesy of Geoff Gove).

Jeff Coltenback was the first to speak during the public comment period. In an emotionally charged speech he showed pictures of Memphis with other dogs, with his father, and even with pet rats. He stated his willingness to sign any agreements necessary to allow his family to adopt Memphis. You can see and hear part of the speech in this video (courtesy of Geoff Gove). [There is a problem with the sound about halfway through]. At the completion of his speech, both he and many members of the audience were in tears.

For the next two hours, speaker after speaker urged the Board of Health to let Memphis go back to Jeff Coltenback, punctuated by applause from the audience. The speakers vouched for Coltenback’s expertise with the pit bull breed and emphasized his track record with rehabilitating dogs. Some pointed out that there is no assurance that any dog won’t bite and that Memphis should not be treated differently from all the other dogs at the shelter.

Others said that evaluating a shelter dog that is stressed and in a strange place is not a valid assessment and that the dog’s behavior at the Coltenbacks’ home was much more indicative of the true nature of the dog.

The creator of the Facebook petition spoke and presented a binder containing a printout of the signatures to the Board.

Many people stated their belief that Memphis’ breed played a part in him being singled out for different treatment from other dogs at the shelter.

Karen Lore and the Board of Health members commented more than once that the Bloomfield Animal Shelter does not discriminate against pit bulls and that the issue was not Memphis’ breed but his behavior.

One of the last speakers was Danise (Bonnie) Taboadela, a current volunteer who heads up the shelter Fundraising Committee. Taboadela presented a letter purportedly representing the opinion of the entire Fundraising Committee, but did not provide names or addresses of the other members. She also asked Karen Lore to read the letter, saying she had forgotten her glasses.

The letter supported sending Memphis to a sanctuary (Spirit Animal Sanctuary in upstate New York), which costs $5000. In the letter, it was suggested that the many people supporting Memphis could donate to the shelter for that purpose and easily raise the money to send Memphis there.

As Taboadela’s letter was read by Lore, members of the audience shouted out objections to sending Memphis away instead of allowing him to be adopted.

At the end of the comment period, Karen Lore summarized the history of the shelter’s experience with Memphis from the time he arrived, describing the concerns of the shelter manager, Kathleen Georgeovich, and other dog trainers and evaluators about his disposition.

She emphasized that the concerns centered around his behavior and not his breed, and that the shelter has adopted out many pit bulls and pit mixes. She said they had hoped that Memphis would do well on his second evaluation at St. Hubert’s, but unfortunately that was not the case, and he was still deemed unadoptable. She did not reveal any details of the results of the test.

Members of the Board discussed the fact that Bloomfield Animal Shelter very rarely puts down dogs, and in the few cases it has done so, it was only in the case of a dog with a bite history. Board member Joel Elkins asked Karen Lore if Memphis had ever bitten anyone in the seven months he had been at the shelter. She said no, he had not.

During the meeting members of the audience often shouted out comments or challenged statements being made by the members of the Board, Lore and Fitzpatrick, prompting Elkins to call for them to be silent or be removed from the meeting. There were members of the police force on hand.

During the discussion about Memphis, both Lore and Elkins alleged that Jeff Coltenback had violated the agreement he had signed with the Health Department not to endanger the public by letting children and others interact with Memphis, which Coltenback denies. He has explained elsewhere that “Part of my training with Memphis, like any dog I work with, included socialization. During this socialization training, he interacted with both adults and children — all by permission.”

Board president, James McLaughlin, and Elkins both stated they felt that Memphis had not had a long enough rehabilitation period and that he should be given another chance to undergo training. McLaughlin stated he thought the contract with Coltenback should be examined to see whether he did actually violate its terms.

Health Officer Mike Fitzpatrick suggested that a “diagnostic” evaluation be performed that pinpointed more specifically the areas that need improvement.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the Board decided to identify another trainer who would be willing to take Memphis and work with him until he or she felt he was ready to be evaluated. Joel Elkins said that suggestions of appropriate trainers would be welcome from the public.

Elkins also stated that once he is considered rehabilitated, Memphis should be evaluated by more than one evaluator, as there are differing opinions about the types of tests that are given and their accuracy. He also offered $2000 toward any expenses incurred for Memphis for his training, to applause from the audience.

The members of the Board agreed that although the dog is past the usual six-month time period that the shelter keeps its dogs, an exception should be made in Memphis’ case.

After the discussion on Memphis, most of the crowd dispersed, and the Board of Health was able to quickly move through the remainder of their agenda.

Although disappointed that he would not be getting Memphis back at this time, Jeff Coltenback posted on his Facebook wall today that his main priority is to save Memphis’ life: “For the record, as much as Diana and I want to adopt Memphis, our primary objective here is saving his life, as it has been from the very beginning. This has been accomplished so far. We love him and want him in our home. But, if it is decided that he can go to a safe place and live his life out in peace, we are ok with that too…”

In the meantime, Memphis continues to sit at Bloomfield Animal Shelter awaiting the next phase of his long journey.

52 COMMENTS

  1. Memphis does not need to be rehabilitated! There is nothing wrong with him as the many videos available of his time with Jeff prove. To continue to subject that poor dog to more poking and prodding and time spent alone in a cage is inhumane!

    Jeff Coltenback is putting his reputation on the line by going to bat for Memphis and wanting to adopt him. There is no way he would put the public at risk if Memphis showed himself to be dangerous. He is a master dog trainer, certified ACO, and runs his own pit bull rescue. He is regularly called upon by other towns and shelters to evaluate and work with their dogs. If his opinion and expertise is good enough for them then you have to wonder what is really behind the Board’s decision not to allow him to adopt Memphis.

    There is something seriously wrong here, and it’s not with Memphis or anything Jeff did.

  2. Really, 35 paragraphs of story – and over 100 people attending a meeting – devoted to the well-being of a pit bull? If only people around here cared as much about their fellow man.

  3. First, great article, Mimi. I hope that Memphis ends up back with the Coltenbacks where he belongs. Too much time and money is being spent on bureaucratic bull. Jeff Coltenback has agreed to take full responsibility for Memphis so what’s the problem here? I agree with Kbanda above that this will most certainly be a setback for Memphis in terms of his socialization.

    As for Montclairdad’s comment: It is possible to have enough love in one’s heart for both humans AND animals. It is not exclusive. If Memphis did not have this support, he surely would have been put down long ago.

  4. That’s because people in this area love their animals and don’t want to see an innocent that has done no harm and has a family willing to give him a home KILLED. Memphis has not bitten anyone and the Health Department declined to say what form of aggression he showed other than trying to protect himself and his handler during an evaluation when an agressive stranger in a hood appeared. And yet he lived with Jeff Coltenback for 8 days 24/7 and was evaluated as a dog who did not have agressive tendencies (videos are on Jeff’s facebook page)

    My dogs protect my home and me – it’s their job!

    It is also because people know New Jersey’s Constitution prohibits ALL forms of Breed Specific Legislation and that rule overrides any BSL a town might try to enact. The Bloomfield Board of Health stated that this is NOT BSL but it most definately is.

    This is yet another black mark on the town of Bloomfield.
    BLOOMFIELD = BELFAST

    Jeff Coltenback offered to have a contract written and take out insurance that will cover the town from liability. He offered to pay to have a 3rd party evaluator for Memphis. The NJ SPA offered to contact and pay for a 3rd party evaluator. They were both turned down.

    Yesterday the police visited Jeff twice “suggesting” that he stop those that support Memphis from e-mailing the Health Department. And yet, at the meeting it was suggested by the Acting Health Department Director that anyone who is interested offer suggestions as to what can be done.

    The Health Department has been allowed to keep Memphis in isolation for over 6 months. Prior to dismissing all of the in-shelter volunteers they were prohibited from walking and socializing him. Allegations have been made that there has been animal abuse of him at the shelter. An incident was reported to the Health Department Officer. They declined to discuss this at the meeting and the person who is alleged to have abused Memphis is still employed there.

    The Patrick Miracle tells the story waaay better than I can. If you are interested go to this facebook page and take a look
    https://www.facebook.com/stbbs?ref=ts#!/notes/the-patrick-miracle/its-a-long-way-to-memphis/367708836632452

    and sign the petition to FREE MEMPHIS here (12,509 supporters as of this post):
    https://www.causes.com/actions/1674225

    Please share these links with your friends and neighbors – and if you feel strongly send a snail mail to Karen Lore, Acting Director Bloomfield Health Department, 1 Municipal Plaza, Bloomfield NJ 07003 – include a copy to Town Clerk Louise Palagano asking that your letter be read at the next Town Coumcil meeting (they have yet to prohibit sending snail mail to their fortified tower)

  5. Thanks Martta, and very well said about Montclairdad’s comment. It seems whenever there is an outcry over the treatment of an animal there are always some people who will say “but what about the children?” or that efforts to save a dog mean people don’t care about other people. As you say, it is not mutually exclusive. In addition, there are way more people working to help their fellow man than are helping pit bulls, which are discriminated against far and wide. I hope I presented both sides of the story but the fact remains, there are many people who are upset about this situation and it fully deserves to be addressed here on Baristanet. In fact, people were asking for a story to be posted here on the subject.

  6. One thing I meant to mention in the story, 3rd Ward Councilman Carlos Bernard came and spoke in support of Memphis as well.

  7. Looks like Mr Coltenback is doing a wonderful job – no way is that an aggressive dog.

    Do the right thing and let him adopt Memphis.

  8. Yes, Councilman Bernard was quite supportive. he also said that he had called the Bukowski Animal Shelter to arrange a tour- and they hung up on him.

    The list of trainers and groups that spoke for Memphis was impressive
    Joel Dwyer – https://www.shelbysgrace.com/the_author.html
    Shelter Showcase – https://www.sheltershowcase.com/
    Best Friends – https://www.bestfriends.org/index.htm
    and at least 8 others whose names I didn’t record.

    We’ll OPRA the meeting minutes that Karen Lore took and get their names.

  9. Very sad this is turning into such a circus. Why not give the dog to Jeff and be done with it? I feel so bad Memphis is in a run at the shelter when he could be in a loving home.

  10. Thank you Mimi for this wonderful article. My fingers are crossed that Jeff gets custody of Memphis.

    Regarding Montclairdads comment. Having compassion for an animal says a lot about the character of person. Someone who can open up their hearts to these animals, who have no voice of their own, have the most compassion for all living things. Maybe you should look at it from that point of view. There are so many organizations to help humans….young, old and everyone in between. Please don’t assume those who have such strong feelings for all sentient beings, don’t have them for our fellow man. In most cases, we may have the most.

  11. It was never made clear exactly where Memphis is currently being kept. Does he have his own dog run at the shelter or is he in “Pit Bull Alley” — in a cage next to all the other large agressive dogs? You would have thought that The Board would give Jeff regular visitation rights — since he’s the one Memphis has bonded with. They seem bent on punishing Jeff for the crime of successfully socializing Memphis. As a result, Memphis is now being rapidly de-socialized.

  12. It is my understanding he is in his own run but not in the area of adoptable dogs that are able to be seen by the public. If I am wrong about that, perhaps someone can confirm. There actually are no other large aggressive dogs currently at the shelter that I am aware of unless there are others like Memphis that have not been shown to the public. The rest are all considered adoptable.

  13. I want to make one thing clear: Memphis is now known to the public because the dismissed volunteers who met him never forgot him and blew the whistle for him! What would have happened to that poor dog if he came in after we were all fired? What has happened to the animals who we were forced to leave behind and others like Memphis who came in after we were thrown out?

    Look at the faces and body language of the select few current volunteers, those of the fundraising committee. They look either bored, disinterested or openly hostile to the speakers and sat with arms folded across their chests while the rest of the room applauded Jeff Coltenback’s emotional and tearful testimony.

    What does that tell you about their caring and compassion for all animals in their “care”? They hold fundraisers, shake their cans for money, and shout that its “all about the animals” and every cent donated goes to helping them. Really? Or only the animals you like?

    What a disgrace. I’ve been involved with that shelter 15 years to their 2+. It always comes down to a pissing contest (sorry). Health Officials will always be ‘right’ no matter how many innocent beings like Memphis suffer and die. And many over the last almost 5 years have died for no good reason other than no one gave a damn about them.

    This dog, if handled properly, would have gone to a good home with Bloomfield police officer Perry if he hadn’t been targeted by the current kennel attendant supervisor, the vet tech who routinely manhandles dogs including Memphis, and one very visible and loud current volunteer who, by the looks of things, calls the shots at the shelter and not Karen Lore or F. Michael.

    Another black eye for Bloomfield.

    Do the right thing for God’s sake! FREE MEMPHIS!

  14. It was clearly proven that Memphis should be returned to the Coltenbacks immediately. What is really going on with the few decision-makers involved with this matter? Beautifully written article.

  15. Use the NJ Attorney General’s online complaint form to complain about the Bloomfield Health Department’s calling the Police on Jeff Coltenback for the public’s overwhelming response to Memphis’ plight via e-mail and phone call.
    https://www.nj.gov/lps/formmail.htm

    They have called the police on Jeff Coltenback in an effort to shut up the public’s hue and cry – Jeff sent out a message on facebook saying that the police has visited him twice in the last day or so!

  16. Maralin, it’s a pissing contest, plain and simple. The ironic thing is HD constantly does these boneheaded things then point the fingers at the people who react as the problems. They’ve always done it with the volunteers and now with this issue.

    The Board of Health is a joke, each and every one of them. Their only qualifications are either being a friend of the mayor’s (J. MacLaughlin) or one of the council reps and getting enough votes to be appointed. They are no more qualified to assess Memphis than my mother is, though even she knows a good dog when she sees one.

    I blame Kathleen Gregorovich the latest inexperienced kennel attendant supervisor, Karen Lore and F. Michael along with the fundraising big cheese for the way this poor dog has been handled and is being treated. Kathleen, the big cheese and the vet tech who manhandles the dogs didn’t like him from day one. Karen Lore and F. Michael didn’t care enough to find out the truth for themselves.

    I’ve always found it interesting just who those two clowns decide to believe when given “second hand” information. They wouldn’t ever take it from most of the volunteers regardless of whether or not we actually witnessed what we reported. But anything coming from the big fundraising cheese is golden. Ya gotta wonder…they sold their souls for a few pieces of silver.

  17. ” If only people around here cared as much about their fellow man.” Your fellow man, Karen Lore, actually did this to Memphis. And us people do care about their fellow man, we are here to support Jeff and man’s best friend

  18. “Fellow man” Karen Lore, F. Michael Fitzpatrick, Pia Silvani, Kathleen Georgovich, the vet tech who treated this poor dog roughly, every member of the Board of Health and the currently active volunteers who either disliked or were afraid of Memphis from the get go and who sat stonefaced and unmoved during Jeff Coltenback’s testimony. Not to mention the mayor and council members who were inundated with emails pleading for common sense and to let Memphis go home with Jeff and Diana and instead of doing anything complained about all of the messages they were getting.

  19. What they are doing to Memphis is very close to animal abuse. He would have had a home on day 8 at the shelter if not for Kathleen Gregorovich the current kennel attendant supervisor. Not to mention her “issues” (not Memphis’) being aided and abetted by Karen Lore and F. Michael. After close to 6 months in solitary confinement he found love and security with Jeff and Diana Coltenback. And the Health Department couldn’t stand being wrong so took Memphis back.

    That poor, innocent, voiceless dog is now back in solitary because Karen Lore won’t admit her current kennel attendant supervisor is wrong about Memphis. She, F. Michael and every member of the BoH is OK with continuing to torment Memphis just to prove they were right. They are not.

    Memphis will be held in solitary, away from public contact and with no volunteers to give him comfort and love. Just to prove a point. And how long will they allow this to go on? Until poor Memphis has deteriorated to the point where he will finally break and snap at someone? And then, congrats! They can prove themselves right all along.

    These people have no heart, souls or consciences. Karen Lore is looking to retire next year. F. Michael is at the end of his career and needs to keep this job. The Head Cheese of the fundraising committee needs her time in the sun.

    Who really gives a damn about Memphis?

    Who? Jeff and Diana Coltenback and the rest of us who know a good dog when we see one and a bunch of BS when it’s dumped on us.

    FREE MEMPHIS NOW!

  20. Just to be fair – Memphis does receive human attention at the shelter beyond just basic care. The staff really likes him. Another example of how ridiculous this “unadoptable” label is.

  21. @Mimi Have you been to the shelter to see this? Is the Vet-Tech who allegedly abused Memphis allowed near him?

  22. No but I did hear this from someone who was at the shelter very recently and is familiar with the situation. As for the Vet-Tech who treats the animals in such a way, I can only assume he is continuing to interact with Memphis and other dogs as I have not heard anything about him being dismissed. 🙁

  23. There needs to be a thorough investigation of the Bloomfield Animal Shelter (including official surprise visits) and everyone currently affiliated with it. Has the mayor commented on the situation? If he’s compassionate, and does not want Bloomfield to look any worse than it already does, he should intervene and release Memphis to Jeff Coltenback.

  24. The mayor never has given a rat’s ass about the animal shelter, not unless it’s a photo op with the Big Head Cheese Fundraiser with both of them spouting how it’s all about the animals. There might be one member of the council, Carlos Bernard, who truly does care. We’ll see if he ever steps up or if it’s more BS.

  25. This is an utter disgrace. Politics and BS. As for the comment about too much time spent caring about a dog and not on our fellow man, let me tell you something. I have been a pet sitter for twelve years. I work with rescues and help as much as I can. I have also fostered children so before you point fingers and assume all that love animals only care about that cause, think again.

  26. I understand the mayor is full up to date on the situation but the Board of Health is “autonomous” so for now I believe he needs to keep his distance. However, there is a Bloomfield town council conference meeting tomorrow, Monday, at 7 p.m. if anyone wishes to speak during public comment about the situation. The more the council understands the better it is.

  27. The attitude that the Board of Health is autonomous is absurd! The members are recruited and elected by the mayor and council. The budget for the Health Department which the BoH oversees is taxpayer money and voted on by the council. That “fact” is a joke. The BoH pretty much rubber stamps whatever Karen Lore gives them especially regarding the animal shelter as the BoH has no personal involvement or interest in the animals or the shelter. It’s all bogus.

    I’m attaching a link to a video Jeff Coltenback was forced to make and post after one particular Big Head Cheese Fundraiser accused him of using a shock collar on Memphis. It’s despicable that he’s being attacked by the very people who should be on his side since they all proclaim loudly that everything they do is “all about the animals”. Apparently only about the animals they like!

  28. I went to the Bloomfield /Bukowski Shelter today to see Memphis. I was greeted by the Fundraising Chair who instructed me “SIGN YOU REAL NAME AND DON’T PUT DOWN ANY CURSE WORDS” I asked why she was treating me like this and she said – “Why are people lying about me?” I told her that that was her own personal problem.

    She went and got the ACO who wanted to know why I wanted to see Memphis. I said that I wanted to see what he looks like “YOU KNOW WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE”. My response was that a taxpayer of Bloomfied I wanted a tour and wanted to see Memphis.

    Memphis looked fine but was in an outside kennel that did not have his name or other information. He was also the only dog that didn’t have a bucket of kibble attached to the kennel.

    I toured the cat room and was told that Aristocat left 2 weeks ago. Not sure what that means since she’s still listed on petfinder. Hope she wasn’t KILLED!

    As I left the Shelter the Fundraising Chair was there with a few more barbs.

    I don’t know why these folks are allowed represent the Shelter and the Township of Bloomfield.

  29. Oh we know her name – Danise Bonnie Salvato Taboadela – but I’ll never say it outloud – who knows what would happen!

  30. It is the Bloomfield Town Council that has given the Board of health and health department control of the Bloomfield Bukowski Animal Shelter. The Town Council needs to step up to the plate and stop this farce. STOP HIDING BEHIND THE BOH AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!

  31. I’m with montclairdad. This is a bit much. There are plenty of people in our towns suffering these days because of financial hardship and burden. Where is the 35 paragraph article about that? Just asking for some balance in the content on Baristanet.

  32. textwoman, as someone else pointed out: loving animals and fellow humans are not mutually exclusive. The people I know who work in animal welfare are just as passionate and giving with humans in need. It’s part of their nature to fight for the underdog so to speak.

    This is a story not just about a dog but about governmental abuses. That’s what’s at issue here. One small group of people with no expertise in this area is calling the shots and totally disregarding the opinions of a man like Jeff Coltenback. Just because they can.

  33. Ironically, textwoman, our BOH’s Neighbor to Neighbor is an excellent volunteer program in Bloomfield /GlenRidge for both food pantry deliveries to the poor and home visits for the elderly. It’s a shame that NtN’s accomplishments are drowned out by the misadventures of Lore and her shelter fundraising committee. The reality is that tragic situations like this make much better copy. Sadly, this issue seems to meet all the requirements for a AAA tragedy.

  34. This is also in response to textwoman and montclairdad.

    I am in agreement with geoff gove – the Bloomfield BOH does a good job of helping the poor, and elderly through Neighbor to Neighbor, the food pantry, and I will also add the free health services of the Health Department – although, I guess there is always room for improvement.

    Unfortunately, some of the people who control the Animal Shelter are creating a situation that infuriates the majority of the public. The way that the Bloomfield Animal Shelter handled Jeff Coltenback and his adoption application has created an outcry not just for animal rights, but for human ones, as they have violated our first amendment rights. After the last BOH meeting, people started e-mailing the township, which they were told they could do – and some members of the BOH felt threatened – so, they sent a policeman twice to Jeff Coltenback’s home and “suggested” that he urge his followers not to e-mail the town officials. What kind of garbage is that? What the township police are suggesting is unconstitutional – and is starting to sound like the worst kind of dictatorship.

    They have also made accusations about the way he trained Memphis which are totally untrue, and they have no evidence to support it – however, they are circulating these lies to hurt his business (Jeff owns a pet store) – When the township officials do things to hurt innocent taxpayers- simply because they do not agree – We are in bad shape. And if they can do it to Jeff, they can do it to anyone else who does not agree, regardless of the issues.

    I, and those who support Jeff Coltenback are concerned about Memphis – but in addition to that, we are concerned about the quality of life in Bloomfield. These actions indicate to me, a definite decline in the quality of life here.

    Moreover, by the negative way in which this case was handled, they are drawing negative attention to Bloomfield, which does not make individuals and businesses want to move here.

    It is also horrendous to think that Carlos Bernard, a council member, who cared enough to come down and speak to the BOH on Memphis’ behalf was prevented from touring the animal shelter. How dare they! And to just hang up on him – that is truly disrespectful.

    It’s really a shame that people in power – care more about their power then the lives they affect. But if they think they can bully and intimidate the public, they haven’t heard the end of this.

  35. It is my understanding that Town Councilor Carlos Bernard did tour the animal shelter on Saturday (with his wife). He was able to meet and interact with memphis.

    Jeff not only owns a petstore but is a certified animal trainer – they are attempting to ruin both his business and reputation.

    Some of us have felt the need to contact New Jersey’s State Attorney General to complain about the Bloomfield Health department’s use of the police to try and silence the residents – if you want to complain you can use the webform at:

    https://www.nj.gov/lps/formmail.htm

    FREE MEMPHIS!

  36. Thank you Pat for updating us. I am certainly glad to hear that Carlos Bernard did get to tour the shelter – to deny him access would be outrageous.

    I will certainly use your link to add my complaint to the many who feel all of our rights are being violated.

  37. Hey Glen Ridge…this is the shelter your town just signed on with to handle your animal control. One of your stray pups could be the next Memphis. Just sayin’…

  38. Ms. Michalski, were you able to visit the shelter today? Hoping to hear the animals are OK, especially Memphis. We’re praying for them.

  39. People who tried to visit Memphis today were denied. memphis is now being kept in a kennel run seperated from the other dogs by and empty kennel and a plywood barricade.

    ” I asked were Memphis was and she pointed to the last dog run on the left. I caught a slight glimpse of him. They have a knee length baby gate or doggie gate up to prevent you from walking up to him. …

    Also – There was an empty dog run next to him. So Memphis is at the end of the dog run with no other animals on either side of him. That in my opinion is lack of socialization. It’s almost like solitary confinement in my opinion.”

    it IS solitary confinement.

  40. Yes, I went to see Memphis and at first they wouldn’t let me and the person who was with me back there until we convinced them we were also interested in seeing the other dogs. As described above, there was a gate preventing us from going to his kennel and the view of him was partially blocked. However, I was able to see the front of his kennel and his head. We also visited the cats, who were all clean and healthy looking. They have little cardboard houses with towels for their beds and many of them came to greet me through the cages. Aristocat is still there and was very friendly.

  41. I went to the Bloomfield Bukowski animal shelter this afternoon and asked to see the dogs. A freind met me there and came in with me. I was the first visitor to sign in with todays date even though there were already visitors there.

    While I walked down the line of dogs – my friend took a video of Memphis who was barricaded in the first kennel- the side of the kennel had a plywood panel so all you could see was his eyes peaking around. The kennel next to him was empty. There was something (a baby gate maybe) blocking the front of the kennel so you couldn’t visit with him.

    The ACO who had been following me closely raced down to the end and told my friend he couldn’t take pictures. He asked where it said that and said he was looking for a dog. Kathleen Georgeovich (the kennel supervisor) appeared and told him that he was not there to see a dog – she said there were signs that said NO PHOTOGRAPHY everywhere.

    I asked if we could see the cats – while we were in the cat room the ACO came back in a told is that F. Michael Fitzpatrick (the health officer) had been called and we had to leave.

    I asked why I had to leave- the ACO said “he took a picture”. I said “but I’m not him”. I was told that I had to leave anyway. We walked out and looked for signs that said NO PHOTOGRAPHY in the main room and outside of the shelter.

    There were none. I did think it was a public place. isn’t photography always allowed in a public place (except maybe the pentagon – but is that a public place?)

    As we exited onto Hoover Ave. a cop car with blazing lights pulled into Bukowski Drive. It was followed by two mkore – I didn’t stick around to see if they turned into Bukowski Drive- but assume they did. Wowee- 3 cop cars because we visited the shelter. Wonder what crime I committed?

    I guess it’s now illegal to visit the shelter. I’m going to try to go back there during the week with at least one Town Council member. F. Michael Fitzpatrick- Will that be a crime too?

Comments are closed.