Beloved Animal of Illinois Humane to be Remembered Thursday, July 13
5:30 P.M. Washington Park Service
Suffocation in Heat Marks 2nd Time Caleb Is Subject of Cruelty/Severe Neglect
SPRINGFIELD – The muzzled black pit bull killed in 90 degree sun on a balcony in a Springfield apartment complex Wednesday June 21, was formerly the beloved animal of Illinois Humane, and the subject of a prior cruelty case.
Caleb, a pit bull with an exceptional happy, gentle, loving temperament, will be remembered at a memorial service conducted by Dr. Roger Rominger, senior pastor of the First Methodist Church of Springfield at the request of Illinois Humane, on Thursday, July 13, at 5:30 P.M. at the gazebo in Washington Park in Springfield.
“We invite the public, and we especially request the honor of the presence of all our colleagues in animal control, sheltering and rescue work, at this memorial service, held in part to celebrate the very being of Caleb, and in part to raise awareness of the plight of animal victims of cruelty and neglect.” Jane McBride, president of Illinois Humane, emphasized. “Caleb's story cries for an awareness of the very real tragedy of cruelty and neglect. All one can think is, how could this happen to this animal. And yet it did. Cruelty and neglect are an unfortunate realty in our society, and we must continue our daily mission to educate and enforce so as to minimize it.”
The news that Caleb was the dog suffocated by muzzling and exposure to sun and 90 degree heat dealt a very devastating blow to Illinois Humane’s volunteers. Caleb was an exceptional animal. He was a striking animal with an absolutely tremendous temperament. He won hearts wherever he went.
Caleb came to Illinois Humane as the subject of another cruelty case. At the age of 6 months, significantly underweight and suffering from a skin condition, Caleb was found with thirty pounds of free weights strapped to him. Caleb was immediately removed from the situation and impounded to Animal Control. Upon a single glance at the attached photos, and upon reading the vet's report, the Sangamon County State's Attorney's office charged Caleb's then owner with cruelty and retained the dog under impoundment. Illinois Humane took custody of the animal as soon as possible and held him through the pendency of the case. The owner pled to the cruelty charge.
When Caleb's custody was cleared, he began to circulate at Illinois Humane’s activities and attend adoptions. He made several visits to Channel 20. During one of these visits, a camera man, not a fan of pit bulls, backed away. But Caleb won his heart. Soon the camera man took his leash and walked Caleb back through the news room to introduce him to everyone. Caleb loved to wear the Harley motorcycle attire Illinois Humane’s Rose Hutches provided for him. Caleb seemed to be all about fun and happy love. To this day, store clerks and others ask about him. He was the kind of dog who made an impression immediately and radiated love.
Caleb was adopted to the household that was the site of his tragic death, at the end of May. Illinois Humane conducts house visits for every adoption. This one was no exception. Particularly with pit bulls, Illinois Humane tries to do everything possible to assure a proper placement. The only issue with this adoption was that the adopters were young, but they answered all questions correctly, when the questions were posed from every angle. Illinois Humane, as is customary, left educational material with the adopters, and offered continuing assistance and, of course, the offer to take the dog back should any issues arise. The agency had specifically asked that the adopters never leave the animal outside in the complex.
Illinois Humane has fully cooperated with the investigation of the matter. To this day, there is no information available as to why Caleb was muzzled on that balcony. This is an animal who should never have had to be muzzled. Caleb's body temperature at the time of the necropsy was 110. That was an hour and a half after his death. A black dog will perish in 45 minutes in 90 degree weather in the sun. The dog is at death at 108 degrees. A muzzled animal cannot exchange heat, since a dog's sole heat exchange is through panting and the soles of its feet. A muzzled animal also cannot drink water.
Caleb's story and his death have brought forth overwhelming emotions of unbearable anguish, grief, and anger, to Illinois Humane's volunteers and supporters. To adequately address all these emotions and to acknowledge and celebrate this wonderful animal, Illinois Humane will host a memorial service in Washington Park the evening of Thursday, July 13, 2006. Dr. Roger Rominger, senior pastor for the First United Methodist Church, will conduct the service. There will also be brief remarks from one of Illinois Humane’s cherished volunteers, Dan Wilson, who teaches theology at Sacred Heart Griffin. The service will get underway at 5:30 p.m. at the Washington Park Gazebo. It will be followed by a walk. At the end of the walk, a tree will be planted in Washington Park, that will eventually be accompanied by a marker in memory of Caleb. The Park District has agreed to allow Illinois Humane to plant a tree at the Dog Park, as well, in Caleb's memory. There will be a brief reception at Washington Park after the walk and tree planting. Pleasant Nursery of Springfield has very graciously donated the trees that will be planted for Caleb.
Memorials in Caleb's name are being accepted by Illinois Humane, to carry on its work. Donations may be sent to Illinois Humane, PO Box 512, Springfield, IL62705.
Illinois Humane to Receive Additional Animals from Gulf Coast Region
Illinois Humane has agreed to receive a few additional animals from the South. Chester, Cassie/Smurf and hopefully Josh, and perhaps more, will be coming to us at the end of the week from the Pearl River County SPCA. The animals can be viewed on the Mississippi shelter's web site, www.prcspca.org Josh was adopted a month before the hurricanes hit. His family tried to keep him despite losing everything, but was unable to do so. He was returned to the shelter. The others have similar stories.
The animals are coming to Illinois Humane at the end of the week. The arrival time is anticipated to be mid-day Friday, April 28. The animals were to be in Illinois earlier this week, but their transport was delayed due to President George Bush visiting the Pearl River County SPCA shelter on Thursday for a photo opportunity with the shelter’s current population of puppies, most of which are destined for Illinois shelters.
The intake of these animals is being facilitated by Triple R Rescue in Peoria, an organization that has been very active in the transport of animals from the South to Illinois shelters.
The next scheduled adoption for Illinois Humane animals is Saturday May 6, 2006 and Sunday May 7, 2006 at PetsMart’s Superadoption, 3183 S. Veterans Parkway, and Sunday May 7, 2006 at Petco, 2721 S Veterans Parkway.
Illinois Humane volunteers will also be on hand to present the animals and provide counseling services for those wishing to adopt a dog or cat.
Illinois Humane’s animals that are available for adoption are viewable on their web site, www.illinoishumane.org or on www.petfinder.com.
Please remember to report animal abuse to our hotline at ac/217-698-3804.
Illinois Humane, P. O. Box 512, Springfield, IL.62705