Some disturbing and disappointing news comes from Elephant Butte, New Mexico where Blue, an Australian cattle dog lives. It is sad to report after all the well-meaning efforts of residents from this small town trying to help 11-year-old Blue maintain the free-range lifestyle he has always known, that Blue is being harassed and there is fear for his safety.
In a conversation with Janice Connor, there are now reports a small minority of town folk – merely 3 or 4 out of a total population of 1,431 – are so dissatisfied with the compromise stemming from the City Council meeting of June 13 that they are actually harassing the poor animal. Janice reports for the past several days she and her husband, Bob Owen, have found Blue in a state of trembling anxiety when, at 6 a.m., they go to open their business at the Butte General Store and Marine.
Janice tells me Blue is a gentle and loving dog who has always responded well to all people. He has lived the nomad life for so long now; he refuses to live inside any building. He is content to spend his days inside the store but only if he has access to a partially opened door so he can come and go as he pleases. At night time, he enjoys the wide open outdoors and as I’ve previously written, Blue has a heated and air conditioned dog house that town members have donated to him for shelter.
During store hours Blue regularly greets customers and plays the role of town ambassador. He walks one of the store employees home every evening for safety and then returns to the store on his own. He even protected a little girl from her father a couple years ago by putting himself in between them. Blue didn’t bark or bite, but the dad knew he meant to help the girl; so the dad left her alone.
The outpouring of support for Blue was clearly evident at the June 13 City Council meeting when over 150 town folk attended and many testified for Blue. Janice told me she was dismayed by the attitude from one of the city council members saying Blue is “just a dog, just one dog…” and couldn’t understand it. But even more disconcerting was the hearsay Janice got second hand about one of Blue’s non-supporters telling another person “if I get a pellet gun no one would even know if or when I shoot that dog.”
Work on the invisible fence is moving forward, with the trenching beginning this weekend. Monday it will start to be installed and training will take place with Blue when it is completed, which is expected one day next week. Janice reports a regular fence won’t work because Blue jumps over it or digs underneath to get out.
In the meantime, Janice and Bob are asking people to just leave Blue alone. Let him be the dog he has always been and have the run of the acre or so on their property that will have invisible fencing come next week. One of them will be staying at the store all night with Blue until the fencing is finished. But, the sad thing is someone has to do this to keep Blue safe…
If you have some constructive suggestions for Janice and Bob about Blue, please submit them in a comment.
Photo of Blue the dog from Facebook