Sunday, November 13, 2016
Pup of the Week: Jeb
When I was a mortal dog, I was known as one of the most prominent dog attorneys in the country. It was only the promise of a judgeship that made me give up my practice and move to Rainbow Bridge.
When I heard of the case of a dog named Jeb I wished I was back in the trenches trying to defend the innocent. A Michigan judge had ordered that Jeb be euthanized because he was found standing over the lifeless body of a neighbor’s Pomeranian named Vlad. The state law demands that any dog who causes serious injury to a dog or person will be destroyed.
Jeb was not a usual suspect. He was a service animal belonging to Kenneth Job, an 80-year-old man, who Jeb helped walk, and stand if he fell. Jeb was a very sweet and tender dog who never bothered another animal, including the rabbit he lived with.
Kenneth and his daughter decided to defend Jeb vigorously. To do so, they turned to the type of evidence that is used to prove the guilt or innocence of humans: DNA.
Poor Vlad’s frozen body was still being held as evidence. A Florida lab took samples DNA samples from Vlad’s body. They found Jeb’s DNA on Vlad, but they also found DNA samples from a mysterious third dog. Michael D. Wendling, the prosecuting attorney, ruled that he did not have irrefutable evidence that Jeb had attacked Vlad. A third animal could have attacked Vlad and then Jeb came upon his body and transferred his DNA at that time.
Attorney Wendling met with Vlad’s family, and they, not wanting to see another innocent dog go to the Bridge, dropped the case against Jeb. He was released and sent home where he could continue to provide for and care for, Kenneth.
Jeb had been in the custody of the county animal office since August 24. On that day Kenneth took his motorized scooter out of his fenced in yard to fix the mailbox. Jeb slipped out of the gate to investigate the neighborhood. Shortly after that, he was found over Vlad’s body. The veterinarian determined that the dog had been picked up by a large animal and shaken to death. The culprit could have been a coyote, or a fox, both of which were common in the area, but since Jeb was found over the body, he was the one held responsible.
Kenneth’s family insisted on a DNA test to clear Jeb, but Michigan officials refused to spend money on the test for a dog. The family paid for an independent lab in Florida to run the test that saved his life.
Kenneth has agreed to keep Jeb on a leash and never let him get loose again. Kenneth’s daughter said that shouldn’t be a problem since Kenneth has not let Jeb out of his site since he has come back home.
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