Bloomfield animal activists: Save Memphis, the pit bull

Supporters of Memphis, the Bloomfield pit bull, took their case to the Township Council on Tuesday.

Jeff Coltenback and Memphis, a pit bull that Bloomfield has deemed 'unadoptable.'

John A. Bukowski Shelter for Animals’ staff members deemed the dog “unadoptable.” The shelter retrieved the dog following accusations that Coltenback, who was training Memphis at home, violated a contract by having the dog around children.

Coltenback has denied he put anyone at risk and wants to adopt the dog himself.

Residents and other supporters are trying to reunite Coltenback and Memphis.

Carrying signs “Save Memphis,” a small group protested outside Town Hall prior to the council meeting. Mayor Raymond McCarthy questioned why supporters would come to the council when the Bloomfield Board of Health is an autonomous entity.

Coltenback questioned the mayor’s statement: “By their own admission, they only make recommendations, not decisions.”

Resident Nellie Reynolds told the council that she was the one who allegedly saw a shelter employee drag the dog by his collar. She said she made it a point not to mention the employee’s name in public.

“I’ll never forget the sheer panic on Memphis’ face,” she said, tearing up as she spoke.

Resident Joseph Del Guidice questioned if the dog is “vicious” or “dangerous.” He said, based on his reading of the law, only a dog who attacks a person can be deemed a threat.

“From what I understand, the dog Memphis has no bite history,” he said. “Why is he being held at our shelter?”

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