Phineas the Dog Still Missing, Attorneys Argue Legality of Dog's Death Sentence Anyway

Categories: Animals

Courtesy of Joe Simon
Phineas: Was he put on death row without due process?
Phineas is still missing, but his case could be reopened after a Dent County judge heard testimony Thursday as to whether the mayor who ordered the dog's euthanization did so without due process.

The dog's owners, Patrick and Amber Sanders, were represented by St. Louis attorney Jeff Lowe, who argued that Salem mayor Gary Brown unjustly took his clients' property and therefore didn't go through the proper legal channels to euthanize Phineas.

Lowe replaced Joe Simon, who stepped down as the Sanders' attorney because he could have been called to testify.

Lowe also presented evidence intended to illustrate that Mayor Brown made his decision to euthanize the dog without looking at proper evidence, according to the Post-Dispatch. To do so, Lowe called canine behaviorist James Crosby to the stand, who testified that Phineas had been framed.

"That dog could not have made those bite marks," Crosby tells Daily RFT. "The bite marks simply do not match the type of jaw that Phineas has."

Crosby explained that the size and shape of the bite, as well as the teeth marks, could not have been made by a dog the size of Phineas.

"If it was a dog bite, it would have to have been a much smaller dog," he says.

Canine behaviorist James Crosby says this bite was not made by Phineas.

See also: Phineas the Dog: Family, Supporters Fight to Stop Salem Officials From Putting Pet to Sleep

The Salem News reports that the children involved in the case also testified:

The courtroom was cleared for the testimony of the minor Woolman children. The 12-year-old Woolman girl said that on at least one occasion Phineas had put his mouth on her, but had just left scrapes. The eight-year-old Woolman child testified that on June 22 Phineas had broken free of the Sanders' daughter's grip and bit the eight-year-old Woolman girl.

The Sanders' eight-year-old testified in open court that Phineas had not bitten Woolman.

Courtesy of Joe Simon
The Sanders' daughter also testified in court.

Brown took the stand and responded to the accusations that he acted out of line. The Salem mayor said he acted based on the law and the evidence given to him, which included police statements he accepted as fact.

It's now up to the attorneys to present case law to convince the judge. According to Simon's Facebook page, the ruling won't be for ten to fourteen days.

As for Phineas, his whereabouts are still unknown after he was stolen from an animal shelter in Salem this past weekend.

See also: Phineas the Dog: Family's Attorney Says Dog Stolen, Probably Killed

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter at @RayDowns. E-mail the author at

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