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Canine Bailout

Morgan Bartlett | Staff Writer | 1-30-2012

If someone asked you to donate money to a bail fund, the last thing you’d expect the money to go to is to bail out someone’s beloved pet dog. This is exactly the case with BSU junior Jake Seaton’s dog, Rosco.
After being accidentally let out at a house party in Nymore on Saturday, January 14th around 3:30 am, unbeknownst to Seaton, Rosco took off and ran. A call complaining about a stray dog on the loose was received at the Bemidji Police Department (BPD) and officers were dispatched to a house about a block from Seaton’s residence.
According to the BPD, an officer attempted to grab Rosco by the collar and Rosco retaliated, biting the officer’s right hand. Upon securing the dog, the officers noted that Rosco, though collared, was without any kind of city license or veterinary tag that might identify him or his owner.
City ordinance states that if an animal bites, it is required to be quarantined for a period of two weeks to check for signs of rabies. Rosco was brought to the pound, and Sunday morning Seaton called the pound and asked if Rosco might be there after looking for him on his property with no luck. Seaton arrived at the pound with the intention of bringing Rosco home, but officials there informed him of the quarantine period that Rosco had to serve.
The next day, Seaton brought vaccination papers to the pound to prove that Rosco had in fact been vaccinated against rabies, but Rosco remained quarantined. After speaking with the police about the incident, Officer Thomas Charboneau explained to Seaton the two possible routes that could be taken: Either Rosco would be deemed a ‘dangerous’ dog or a ‘potentially dangerous’ dog, and there were different consequences for each classification including fines, and violations of city ordinances, such as failing to provide Rosco with an ID tag and running at large. Rosco was deemed ‘potentially dangerous’ eight days after the officer’s hand healed with no substantial damage.
Charlie Woodson, Seaton’s close friend and Student Senate co-president, stated that they were initially told that the incurred fines would total between $140 and $800, and he sought a more exact answer, so he called Officer Charboneau and went through each item one by one and narrowed the cost to approximately $480.
In an effort to garner support for Rosco, Seaton created the Facebook group, “Free Rosco Campaign!!” asking for monetary donations to build a fund that would help pay for the fines.
Woodson and Seaton decided it would be best to set a goal of $600, and Woodson explained the decision: “Since we didn’t want to be caught off-guard with too little money, we aimed a little higher than we needed, but at the same time we didn’t want to raise $2,000 and find out we only needed $200.”
At press time, the group had received a little over $500 from a plethora of friends and strangers alike. Seaton couldn’t believe the amount of support that flowed in for him and his dog. “I don’t ask for help often, but it felt awesome to get all the support we did. It was very refreshing to see that amount of help from people,” Seaton said.
Woodson is the one Seaton is especially grateful for. As for that, Woodson says, “I don’t know how much of a role I really played. I was just there for moral support.” That may be, but that is the best kind of support a friend can offer, and Seaton–and Rosco–received more than they expected.
Rosco’s holding period is almost over; Seaton will pick him up and bring him home on January 29th, just in time to celebrate his first birthday on February 4th.

UPDATE: Rosco has been freed and is happy to be back at home.