On June 22, 2012, a Golden Lab named Phineas was seized from his home and family in Salem MO following a report that he had bitten an eight year old neighbor who had entered his yard. A photo of the bite indicates that it was hardly a nip and did not even break the skin.
The family of Phineas retained an attorney and brought action against the City of Salem to have Phineas returned to them. From the time of his seizure and for nine months, Phineas was confined in doggie jail. Written testimony from the boarding facility caring for him and submitted to the City states that he was anything but vicious.
On March 22, 2013, Phineas was removed by Animal Control to an undisclosed location following issuance of an order by Judge Scott Bernstein of the Dent County Circuit Court. In that order, he stated:
"The Court finds that Phineas, the Labrador Retriever owned by the Plaintiffs is in fact a vicious dog as defined by Defendant's City Code under Section 5-15 in that Phineas without provocation on June 22nd, 2012 bit (minor child - name withheld.) The dog shall be humanely euthanized."
When the Judgment was brought to the attention of Missouri animal welfare representatives on April 15, 2013, investigative work began and it became evident to them that Phineas had been wrongly condemned and convicted. Legal assistance was retained to overturn that judgment.
The Save Phineas Facebook page:
Information has been gathered from many sources surrounding this case and based on that information, numerous questions have been raised about the manner in which the case was handled. Following through with the current Judgment without intervention will not only result in the unjustified death of a loving family pet but will cause great emotional trauma to the children of both families involved. Even the family of the person who was bitten has asked for a "reprieve" for Phineas. Killing Phineas would be a travesty of justice.
Due to the numerous inconsistencies in the handling of this case and because it would be in the best interests of all parties involved, we respectfully request that the City of Salem take action to vacate the order to euthanize Phineas.