Humane society launches investigation after man fired for protecting dog

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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:

This is a game we play everyday. He pretends to be a stealthy, jungle cat lying in ambush and I his hapless prey caught in his sights! Every morning when I'd go wake up the kids, he'd do this at the end of the hallway when he knew I had to come back his way. His way of setting the "perfect trap" for me LOL #savemeelo

Posted by Joey Bergmanis on Friday, November 17, 2017



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6 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    I have no doubt that these “at-risk youngsters” could very well be abusing this dog, and if the owners of the dog aren’t doing something about it and ignoring the situation, then I hope it is brought to light and the dog taken out of there. Joey Bergmanis should have done what others have, whipped out his trusty smart phone and videoed it! A picture is worth a thousand words!

    • vicki hood says:

      Barkley’s Mom, There is no better answer. Thanks. At-risk youngsters are already needing th most of supervision or they wouldn’t be there. Either the children are not being watched or not being stopped from abusing innocents. This facility needs filmed by investigators for 24 hr a day surveillance. .

  2. Mary Ann Clark says:

    These future serial killers are starting their careers with this poor dog and he needs to be removed immediately and given to a no kill sanctuary ! Jefferson House needs to be shut down and investigated and if found guilty these monsters need a long prison term!

  3. Nancy Raymond says:

    These ‘at risk’ punks should never be anywhere near an animal – what the hell is this Jefferson House thinking? I am sure this is not the first time these little bastards have hurt an animal – Meelo does not deserve to be put through this cruelty because some punk thugs are training to be serial killers. GET MEELO OUT OF THERE NOW!!!

    • pennysdachshunds says:

      Having worked in as a nurse in a facility for adjudicated youth I am in total agreement with ALL of YOU::: not only the Youth but some of the Staff are as disturbed as the youth believe it or not!!! The dog needs to be taken away for it’s own safety … This staff member that is being the Bad Guy “IS PROBABLY the ONLY ONE TELLING THE TRUTH”!!!!!!


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