Memphis & Coltenback: the saga is finally coming to an end.
By: N Gilbert
The months-long ordeal over the Bloomfield pit bull named Memphis may be coming to an end.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JEFF COLTENBACK
Bloomfield dog trainer Jeff Coltenback says an agreement is in the works for him to adopt the pit bull Memphis.
According to a statement from local dog trainer Jeff Coltenback, he and his wife Diana have reached a preliminary deal with the Bloomfield Board of Health.
"We are still ironing out the details," Coltenback said in the statement. "But, basically, once Memphis is deemed adoptable by his current caretaker, he will be adopted by Diana and me."
He stated an agreement would be up for resolution at the Bloomfield Board of Health meeting next month.
"I think the agreement [on the table] is putting it in writing what the boards' concern was from the beginning - adoptability and public safety," Karen Lore, director of the Bloomfield Health and Human Services Department, told Bloomfield Life on Wednesday. The issue was never who should adopt the dog once deemed adoptable, she added.
Memphis was held at the John A. Bukowski Shelter for Animals after being picked up as a stray in February. Officials deemed the dog "unadoptable" after an evaluation.
Coltenbacks were training the dog at home, but were asked to return Memphis after being accused of violating the contract for allegedly having the dog near children. The Coltenbacks denied that claim.
"Memphis was never at risk," Lore said of the dog's fate in shelter care.
Township officials said Memphis was moved to South Dakota for additional training and because of threats toward the shelter.
Lore said Wednesday that a rescue ground transporter carried Memphis to the Midwest through donations from the town's volunteer Neighbor to Neighbor Network. Lore did not know how much it cost.
"I'm grateful to the NTNN support committee for assisting us in the rehabilitation, and also the rescue group that came forward on behalf of Memphis," Lore said.
Coltenback said the Board of Health attorney Ronald Ricci approved his statement.
"I'd like to thank the Board of Health for their willingness to work with us," Coltenback stated. "I'd especially like to thank all of the Memphis supporters. Your continued support throughout this is appreciated beyond words. I think this is a great start to the healing process for everyone involved and for the Township of Bloomfield as a community."
The animal shelter is running a holiday promotion for the adoption of other cats and dogs, Lore said.
Home for the Holidays runs until the end of the year. The animals are spayed or neutered, and there is a "minimum fee, if anything" to adopt.
The attention of Memphis has hurt the shelter, Lore said, saying donations are down.
"There's been a lot of attention placed on Memphis, but there are a lot of other animals there," she said. "Some of our older animals have been in the shelter for a longer period of time.
"Our goal is to get them into homes with the right families," she said.