Please see Editor’s Note on related post before commenting.
BLOOMFIELD BOARD OF HEALTH
SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 STATEMENT ON MEMPHIS
Memphis is a dog who was housed at the Bloomfield John A Bukowski Shelter for Animals, which is supervised by the Bloomfield Department of Health.
While residing at the Bloomfield shelter, certain behavioral triggers on Memphis’ part were noted by the shelter staff, and as a result it was arranged for Memphis to be evaluated by the St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center. The subsequent report by St. Hubert’s noted that Memphis demonstrated aggressive tendencies in certain situations, which in their opinion made him a high risk for adoption:
“Despite the fact that Memphis has many good qualities, I do not trust him… Putting him out into society is extremely risky since he is an accident waiting to happen…. I would not want to live next door to this dog.” – Pia Silvani, CPDT-KA, CCBC-KA, VP of Training and Behavior, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, 03/04/12
At its July 2012 meeting, the BOH approved an agreement negotiated by township attorney with Jeff Coltenback, a Bloomfield resident who had volunteered to work with Memphis to determine his amenability to behavior modification. After approximately eight days in Mr. Coltenback’s care, Mr. Aloia asked that Memphis be returned to the shelter over concerns for the safety of the gereral public. Memphis was then re-evaluated by St. Hubert’s – their findings remained the same, which was that Memphis was still a high risk for adoption:
“The risk of someone being bitten by Memphis when they enter a home environment or run is very high… Adopting him out to the general public would be a liability risk to people and other animals.” – Pia Silvani, 08/09/12
At the August BOH meeting, Mr. Coltenback expressed his opinion during the public comment section that Memphis needed no rehabilitation, and he expressed his desire to adopt the dog. After hearing from the public, and after being briefed by Acting Director Karen Lore on related events since the Board’s July meeting, the BOH agreed to the following:
• Since questions has been raised about the prior evaluations, Ms. Lore was asked to find another party to provide an unbiased evaluation of Memphis, and;
• That Ms. Lore should begin to explore options for providing Memphis with rehabilitation for the aggression noted in the evaluations performed by St. Hubert’s, with the goal of making Memphis adoptable.
Noted expert Jim Crosby, who had been recommended by several people including Mr. Coltenback, was hired to evaluate Memphis. Mr. Crosby examined Memphis on September 6th, 2012, and made his findings known at a public forum held on the same date. Like St. Hubert’s, Mr. Crosby also noted certain aggressive tendencies which he believed made Memphis unsuitable for adoption at the present time – however Mr. Crosby also expressed confidence that Memphis could be successfully rehabilitated in an appropriate setting (what he referred to as a ‘controlled environment’).
At its September meeting, the BOH met with it’s [sic] attorney and reviewed the case history and the rehabilitative options for Memphis. The BOH attorney expressed his legal opinion that there were significant liability issues for the BOH and the Township of Bloomfield which simply could not be resolved under the circumstances, except by utilizing a previously uninvolved third-party for the rehabilitation. Given that finding, the BOH decided that the only acceptable option which satisfied both the liability and the public safety concerns was to send Memphis for rehabilitation to a controlled environment where he could properly be supervised and managed. Upon notification that Memphis’ behavior has been successfully modified, he will be re-evaluated for adoptability. Upon completion of a positive evaluation for adoptability, Memphis will be available for adoption to a loving home.
Following the Board’s decision, Memphis was transported out of the shelter to receive rehabilitation in the appropriate setting where he can be properly managed and trained.