Phineas moved to veterinarian clinic - Local News

Phineas moved to veterinarian clinic

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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 11:00 am

Phineas, the yellow lab embroiled in a court battle with the City of Salem after biting a young child in 2012, has been moved to the offices of Dr. J.J. Tune, DVM, in Salem.

During an emergency closed session meeting of the board of aldermen, it was unanimously decided that Phineas would be boarded at a veterinarian clinic. Originally a shelter was the choice, but the dog’s notoriety made that difficult, according to city administrator Clayton Lucas.

“After he was stolen from the Dent County Animal Welfare Society shelter, I tried to find other shelters in the area, even in surrounding counties. No one would take him,” Lucas said.

Phineas spent time in two undisclosed locations. City officials are now saying that one of those locations was the walk-out basement of the Dent County Fire Protection District firehouse. The other location will remain unknown to protect the caregiver’s privacy, they said. According to Denna Tune with the department of agriculture, both locations were up to code standards. The department is bound by State Code of Regulation 2CSR 30-9.030, which outlines the standards for an animal care facility. She is no relation to Dr. J.J. Tune.

During a hearing Monday on the stay of execution filed by the dog’s owners’ lawyer, Joe Simon of St. Louis, city attorney Wm. Camm Seay stated that the city wanted to board Phineas at a veterinarian clinic in order to dispel any rumors of wrong-doing on the part of the city. According to Denna Tune, veterinarian clinics are licensed to board animals under state law.

At the time of the hearing, Dr. J.J. Tune’s office had not confirmed they could take Phineas. A reporter from The Salem News witnessed the transfer during an interview with Code Officer Jarred Brown.

“I called eight veterinary offices trying to find some place to keep him, seven of them wouldn’t even give me pricing, they just said no,” Brown said.

According to Brown one of the reasons that Dr. Tune’s office was chosen is that it is a private business, and although it would be fine for the dog’s owners, Patrick and Amber Sanders, to visit him, the public would not be allowed to come and go as they please like they could at the DCAWS shelter. Phineas is not to be released to anyone until the conclusion of court proceedings, Brown stated.

The cost of boarding the dog with Dr. Tune is $10 per day, as opposed to the $5 per day paid at the DCAWS shelter. That cost will be passed along to Phineas’ owners, Patrick and Amber Sanders. During Monday’s hearing it was calculated that at $10 per day for approximately six months the appeals process is foreseeably going to take, according to the attrorneys, the court and the attorneys for both parties agreed on a bond of $1,800 to maintain Phineas’ care. The Sanders have a $500 bond credit on file with the court system as of this time, according to Judge Scott Bernstein. Simon requested 15 days to pay the bond, which was granted.

During the hearing Simon argued that the city should be choosing the lowest cost option, the DCAWS shelter, and that choosing a more expensive boarding facility was damaging to his client.

“He was stolen from the shelter,” Seay said in response.

“So then I would ask that he have a 24-hour police guard at the new location,” Simon replied, citing that he knew of threats to the dog’s safety from people who believe he bit the child, and supporters who wish to free him.

Seay said that the city paying an officer $20 per hour to guard Phineas was “ludicrous,” and would not be an option.

Phineas is being kept in a covered run that is approximately 30 feet by 10 feet during the day, and according to a member of Dr. Tune’s staff, will be kept inside the clinic at night and during inclement weather.

A hearing has been set for the Sanders vs. Gary Brown, et al, for Thursday at 9 a.m.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • Debby Littlefield posted at 4:51 pm on Sat, Jul 13, 2013.

    Debby L Posts: 0

    I just have to just plead with Mayor Brown to just please let this dog go home.  This is so heartbreaking to so many of us and this dog needs to be home with his family!!  It just makes me so sad seeing him being held this way.  Please just save this dog!!!  Stop all of this heartbreak and let him go back to his family!!!  Doesn't the city of Salem have anything else to do?     This is just the saddest story ever and this dog should be saved!!!!

  • Jeanne Fontbonne posted at 8:22 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Jeanne Fontbonne Posts: 5

    One point of clarification, I was checking with DCLAWS on another matter and I was told that they charge $10.00 per day for boarding not $5.00. Perhaps was there a special reason they were only going to charge $5.00 per day to board Phineas instead of the regular $10.00 per day?  If you would look into this Ms. Dudley, I would appreciate it. Thank you!

  • Tamara Mitchell posted at 7:20 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    TamaraM Posts: 1

    Code Officer Jarred Brown said that he made several calls to veterinarians and shelters in other counties for Phineas to be sheltered. Why didn't he call Five Acres Animal Shelter in St. Charles County who has a SAVE PHINEAS St. Louis Blues team member David Backes as a board member? Conflict of interest? Whose? I'm sure that something WOULD have been worked out to be cost effective for the City of Salem. I'm sure they would have gladly taken Phineas, but no, it had to be a problem. I am a Missourian and I shake my head at the city of Salem's government and their antics as many others all over the country and the world do. Makes a person wonder what the city has against this family, because it seems to run deeper than a dog nipping a child. Show the world the 2 reports prior to this "3rd strike and your out" incident! Because most believe it is just heresay up to this point because the family was never informed of those reports? Very, very strange and insulting to those principally involved.

  • Jean Woolery posted at 6:52 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Jean Posts: 3

    A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO Dr. Tune, for stepping up to look after Phineas. What a Blessing for EVERYONE!!

  • Jean Woolery posted at 6:49 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Jean Posts: 3

    Was the "theft" of Phineas covered in the paper; were flyers posted; where was it announced that Phineas was "stolen"? Or was this another selfish decision on the part of the City, to validate the relocation of Phineas? Curious.

  • Jean Woolery posted at 6:47 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Jean Posts: 3

    The basement of the firehouse would have been in violation of the Animal Care Facilities Act, based on the lack of lighting. However, the inspector did not witness that. Exercise & veterinary care are requirements as well. I will request Sunshine records at some point for veterinary records prior to Phineas going to Dr. Tune. That can be submitted to the MO Dept of Ag for consideration. Thank God for the teamwork for Phineas ~~ off the top of my head & in no order ~~ The Lexus Project, Joe Simon, Save Phineas Facebook & all those who took the time to post/like/donate, Austin Denton, Dent County Animal Welfare Society, the ACFA inspector & the Missouri Department of Agriculture, rescue groups & individuals, Phineas' family. Kudos to the little girl's family for helping save Phineas. The Code Officer looks sincere & most likely has done his very very best during this tragic ordeal. The media has been spectacular & they have relayed to me, they will be there for follow-ups. The coverage by the Salem paper is appreciated & we look forward to their continued updates.

  • TRICIA BERNARD posted at 6:11 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    TRICIA Posts: 1

    Let the dog go home to his family!!!!!!! Do you know how many animals have no family to go home to? What kind of treatment does the rest of the Salem animal population get if this dog cannot be returned to his family? This Major is an outrage and I am certain there are more pressing matters to dig your heels into rather than a beautiful and well loved animal being released to his home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lylia Smith posted at 5:23 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    lyl Posts: 1

    This is ridiculous! It is a dog not a criminal, stop treating him as one, plus whatever you, authority think he did wrong he already paid for it. Stop spending taxpayers money and making Phineas' family spend money for god's sake!!!
    I don't believe that neither the Mayor, the council or the Judge have a dog, and/or they do NOT know how to love a family member, otherwise Phineas would be free by now. Now to Phineas' family: please if you guys have set up an account for donations to help Phineas please let me know; I you don't set one, it is a lot of people that wants to help!!!

  • Susan Freuler posted at 4:43 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Sfreuler Posts: 3

    What is ludicrous is that Mayor Brown has drug his heals in for 9 months. Felons get better treatment. Is Mayor Brown thinking of the taxpayer? I think not. After 10 days, this dog should have went back to the family. Clearly, this is not a viscous dog. I hope someone in that town can come to their senses. Free this animal. Just remember one thing Mr Brown, the people voted you in, they can easily vote you out! This is how you want to represent your town. Shameful!

  • Tina Green posted at 4:22 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Missy71 Posts: 1

    There are many dogs that get over excited and nip.  People need to slow down and think before they freak out and get the urge to cause trouble.  How many times has the dog bitten someone and did the child need extensive reconstruction surgery like some people.  If not then think about it even kids get over excited and hurt each other when they are playing does that mean we should throw them in jail no of course not.  So why should a dog who got over excited be condemned.  I have been around dogs that got over excited and nipped I would never consider having the dog put down.  Not only did I grow up around many kinds of dogs but I have friends who own a boarding kennel and they have dogs who come and stay that do tend to bite strangers so they post on the board that they are like that and others that are young and full of energy that do it accidentally and the lady that owns the kennel is a trainer and she was bitten on the face by accident because the dog was excited.

  • Steve Clemons posted at 4:09 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    jazdad Posts: 1

    Finally, we know he is safe and being cared for.  It never should have come to this, but small town politics seems to be more important than an actual life in Salem.

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