The Dodge County Humane Society launched an investigation on Thursday after claims of animal cruelty posted by a fired employee went viral on social media. Joey Bergmanis, of Fremont, Nebraska, wrote the post on his Facebook page and accused the children at the Jefferson House, a shelter for at-risk youngsters, of beating, choking, sexually abusing and feeding the support dog, named Meelo, harmful table scraps.
Joey claims he was fired last week for trying to save the dog from the abuse; the dog’s owner contends his dog is well cared for and happy. According to WowtNews, a witness has confirmed the allegations of the two-year-old Labradoodle’s mistreatment with the children using shoes to abuse Meelo. Hannah Stednitz lived at the Jefferson Home earlier in the year:
“They would hit him on the head, super hard, probably about five or six times,” said Hannah Stednitz. “It was forceful – like really forceful, I think it was bad. Honestly. I’d say he’s been mistreated at the Jefferson House,” she added.
At the Jefferson House, there is a conflicting story. Donna Dostal denies the dog is mistreated. She said a veterinarian examined Meelo on Wednesday and gave the dog a clean bill of health.
“He’s our dog. He’s part of the family,” Dostal stated.
Dostal claims the children and staff are now being threatened after reading social media posts animal advocates plan on stealing the dog and taking him away – putting Meelo at risk, but also the children in the home
Before Bergmanis was fired, he would often take Meelo home with him; no doubt the two had a close and very bonded relationship.
“My bosses told me ‘you love Meelo more than the kids,’ and I said ‘absolutely right I do’,” Bermanis posted on Facebook.
“…The only way I can explain it, is that me and Meelo are pals, friends. I don’t see him as a pet, but as my friend. I love him, and he loves me and something very powerful happens when an animal places their trust in you.”
And he did report the alleged abuse to the Dodge County Humane Society doing what the law requires for anyone suspicious of an animal being mistreated. The investigation continues, however the dog remains at the Jefferson Home.
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Check out their special relationship on this short video: