Phineas, a 4-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, has been making waves in the Ozark town of Salem Missouri for more than 16 months. The bizarre case began on a Friday afternoon in June of 2012, when Phineas allegedly bit a young child playing in the Sander’s family yard.
After reading what would turn out to be a faulty police report, the town’s mayor deemed Phineas a ‘vicious animal,’ and sentenced him to euthanasia, which was delayed by a court appeal.
Desperate to save the doomed doggy, Phineas supporters contacted the Lexus Project, a dog rescue based in upstate New York. The group created the Save Phineas Facebook page, which garnered over 100 thousand “likes,” and brought Phineas’ plight into the national spotlight. Soon there were rallies, bumper stickers, and even a “Save Phineas” billboard, all fighting to free the popular pup.
During the court proceedings, Phineas was held by the city in a number of “undisclosed” locations, including a no kill animal shelter, and the dark, dingy basement of a local firehouse.
When supporters found out about the conditions of Phineas’ temporary dwellings, they fought for him to be transported to a more comfortable veterinary clinic.
A Mysterious Turn
That’s where Phineas was when he was kidnapped on October 11th, 2013. With no sign of a break in, police were stumped as to who took Phineas, and how.
Phineas’ family said they received a mysterious letter indicating that he was safe, but were unsure of his whereabouts. The dog was missing for over 2 weeks, until the day after the final trial which would determine his fate.
On Friday, Oct. 25th, the judge overturned Phineas’ death sentence, making him a free dog. The very next day, Phineas was returned to his family, who after over a year of drama greeted him with an abundance of relief, excitement, and affection. Who his rescuer was remains a mystery.
You can learn more about Phineas’ journey on the Save Phineas Facebook Page!
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