Back in May we brought you the tale of Blue the dog, a 4-year-old blue lacey who had been condemned to die under a highly contentious local ordinance.
For a year now the dog has been housed in an animal shelter in Albany, Ore., awaiting his final days on earth . . . Until Sunday, that is.
Now Blue is free, liberated (or stolen, depending on whom you ask), by a concerned supporter (or supporters) who scaled the fence of the shelter where he was held and spirited the pooch away from his approaching demise.
"At this point the only thing missing from the business is the Blue Lacey named Blue," said Albany Police lieutenant Casey Dorland.
Police believe sometime between late Sunday night and early Monday morning, someone climbed the fence at the hotel, broke a window, and took Blue from his kennel.
"To my knowledge this is the first time a dog's been stolen from that facility," said Dorland.
Blue had been sentenced to die for biting a toddler who had crawled into his food bowl while he was eating. The toddler wasn't seriously injured. But under Albany law, the local police chief gets to make the call on whether a dog is considered a "dangerous animal" or not--and if the dog does indeed get that classification, it dies.
Blue's owner Richard Raymond, rather than accept that a one-time transgression and a police chief's pen stroke would mean the end of his beloved pet, hired a lawyer and has been fighting the execution ever since, with the help of hundreds of supporters.
Raymond has yet to say anything about his dog's new freedom. His mom tells Seattle Weekly that she just heard the news and has no idea where the dog is.
We left a message with Raymond and will update if/when he calls back.
UPDATE: Richard Raymond, Blue's owner, just called in to tell us that he's "happy, but in a bit of confusion" since his dog was rescued. He also has a message for whoever has Blue. "I just want to say 'thank you' to whoever had the courage to do what they did," says Raymond. "I saw Blue before this happened, and he had gone from about 75 pounds to about 50--he was dying. But now as long as he's safe and happy, that's OK, I'm happy." Raymond also says that he'll keep fighting to get Albany's law on dangerous dogs changed.
"I just want to say 'thank you' to whoever had the courage to do what they did," says Raymond. "I saw Blue before this happened, and he had gone from about 75 pounds to about 50--he was dying. But now as long as he's safe and happy, that's OK, I'm happy."
Raymond also says that he'll keep fighting to get Albany's law on dangerous dogs changed.
In the meantime, Blue supporters are likely relieved that the dog will, at least for now, be spared the needle. Whether anyone will end up in jail because of the escape remains to be seen.