SALEM, MO (KTVI)– Missouri state investigators step into the middle of a dog case that has garnered the attention of folks around the world. An animal health officer from the Missouri Agriculture Department visited Salem Monday afternoon to check out the dog’s welfare after receiving complaints about how the animal was being treated by city officials.
The attorney for the dog’s owner said Phineas the dog has been held for months in a garage basement. Joe Simon, the attorney said, “So he wasn’t getting any light at all from the outside.”
Recently, Simson said Phineas spent two nights in a pump house for the city water tower. Simon added, “They’re both horrible.” The state investigator would not confirm or deny his statements. Phineas has been in city control ever since last summer when he bit a little girl. The mayor ruled the dog was vicious and should be killed. And, there have been allegations the animal was being mistreated while in custody. Joe Simon said, “The attorney general office was flooded with calls on their canine complaint line so what they actually do is refer it to the agriculture department.”
After checking Phineas the investigator Denna Tune said, “The dog’s in good shape. Madden: You believeit is being well care for? Tune said, It has food water, shelter and veterinary care. Madden: And you would be happy if your dog was treated this way. Yes.”
The local paper “The Salem News” took photos this weekend of Phineas and reported the dog was in good condition. The question is Phineas mean, is it vicious? Tune said, “It did not show any signs of being vicious.”
Two people at the Salem Police Department said they get lots of calls about the dog and his welfare. They added, in the past two months not one caller has ever asked about the welfare of the girl who was bitten. A judge will decide Phineas’ future. The city manager told Fox 2 that the station would be permitted to shoot video of Phineas. When a reporter and photographer arrived in Salem, the manager said the Fox 2 could not take video of the dog. He said he had been overruled by the city attorney.