Firefighter Reportedly Fired After Caring For Disputed Salem Dog

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SALEM, MO (KTVI) – A social media campaign to save a golden retriever that bit a child nearly a year ago now has the support of St. Louis Blues Hockey captain and his wife, David and Kelly Backes.  The two have offered to take the dog named Phineas until a new home can be found for the pet.  The Backes' are active in animal protection campaigns.

A Salem, Missouri family is fighting in court to save their dog's life.  The animal nipped a neighbor girl nearly a year ago causing bruising. Now the Salem Mayor has deemed the dog vicious and recommended he be destroyed.

A Salem firefighter says he got involved in the campaign after seeing the dog in a kennel in the fire department basement.  Austin Denton said Saturday he may lose his part time job at the fire department because he spoke out criticizing the conditions where the dog was confined.

"His cage was not being cleaned and he had no food at times," Denton said.

Denton and a fellow firefighter began checking on Phineas last month, cleaning his cage, feeding him and giving him exercise.  But he was told by a department officer to stop.

Saturday, Denton said department officers told him he had been fired, but that could not be confirmed with the fire chief.  The dog has been moved to another location.

Joe Simon, an attorney representing the dog's owners, is appealing a court decision that went against his clients.  Simon says the family plans to take the case to federal court if necessary.

Salem city officials did not return phone calls asking for information, but they did talk to a local community newspaper and allowed the dog to be photographed.  The link to today's report is

Previous Stories:

Phineas’ Fans Await Judge’s Decision For Life Or Death

Dog May Be Euthanized For Nipping Child

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