Dog’s death stirs up debate in Blue Earth

BLUE EARTH – A heated debate broke out Monday when the president of the Faribault County Humane Society confronted the Blue Earth City Council about a dog being euthanized.

Staci Thompson read a letter addressed to the council regarding Buddy, a husky dog, that was brought to the pound Sept. 10 after he was accused of biting a child.

“Buddy was tied in the yard 24/7, with no socialization of any kind. Since Sept. 10, Buddy has made leaps and bounds with his socialization and he loved people! He enjoyed our morning walks, his belly rubs and his special treats,” Thompson wrote.

For more than two months, Buddy’s owners worked with the city on an agreement to get Buddy back. That agreement included getting him microchipped, so on Nov. 1, his owners got permission from the city to take him from the pound to the veterinarian to be microchipped. A Blue Earth police officer accompanied them, but was called away. By the time the officer returned to the vet’s office, Buddy had been euthanized.

“Buddy is dead, and he should not be dead,” said an extremely upset Thompson.

She demanded answers from the council. Her questions included: Why were Buddy’s owners allowed to take him out of the pound unsupervised, and how could they have him euthanized? And what charges will they face for doing so?

Thompson also wanted to know why there had been no progress on a pound agreement between the Humane Society and the city and why an animal control officer had not been hired when the position has been vacant several months.

“The dog tried to bite the owner at the vet. He had the right to put the dog down, ” Scholtes said, noting the owner’s attorney probably contributed to the decision.

“I think there are gaps here,” Thompson said. “They should never have had access to the dog unsupervised. I think somebody dropped the ball.”

She asked whether the Humane Society would be paid for Buddy’s care and board.

If the owners don’t pay the fees, the bill will go on their property taxes, said Scholtes.

“You will get paid,” Scholtes said, “whether we get paid (by the owners) or not.”

Scholtes tried to remind Thompson of the reason they were all there in the first place: “What’s lost in all this is the little girl who got bit,” he said.

Regarding the animal control officer, Scholtes said he had been talking to Sheriff Mike Gormley because it was a law enforcement matter.

“We feel we’ve bent over backwards to work with you folks, and we’d like reciprocation,” Thompson said.

As for the pound agreement, the contract isn’t just between the Humane Society and city of Blue Earth. Scholtes said he’s trying to work with the county and other cities to come up with an agreement everyone can live with. If the other entities don’t like the agreement, they are under no obligation to it and can house stray animals as they see fit.

Thompson noted two cities that she’s heard already have agreements with private entities.

“All of the Faribault County Humane Society members are dedicated to saving the lost, abused, and neglected animals of Faribault County,” Thompson wrote in the conclusion of her letter to the city council. “We donate more time to the pound than most people volunteer in their lifetimes. We are tired of waiting for things to get done on the governmental end – I would hope, after what has happened to Buddy, that it might just light a fire under somebody’s rear end and things begin to happen in a positive way! His death will NOT be in vain!!!!!”