Fremont man says he was fired for protecting dog
Claims of animal cruelty in Dodge County are being investigated after a social media post went viral. Joey Bergmanis of Fremont wrote the post. He says he was fired for trying to save a dog from being abused. The dogs' owners say the dog is happy and healthy. Now, the Dodge County Humane Society has launched an investigation.
It took a while for Joey Bergmanis to compose himself as he tried to put into words how much he loves Meelo – a two year-old labradoodle.
Meelo is the support dog at The Jefferson House – a shelter for at-risk kids. Bergmanis worked there until last week, when he was fired.
“My bosses told me 'you love Meelo more than the kids.' and I said 'absolutely right I do,’” he said.
Bergmanis believes Meelo is being abused. He reported it to the Dodge County Humane Society and posted about it on social media. He accused the kids at the Jefferson House of beating and choking Meelo, sexually abusing him, and feeding him harmful table food.
“Meelo has been abused systematically for the past 18 months. He will be abused again,” said Bergmanis.
Bergmanis's post quickly went viral. At the Jefferson House, Donna Dostal says the children and staff are now targets for online vigilantes.
“They were talking about coming here, stealing the dog, and taking the dog away, and immediately that, not only Meelo at risk, but it also puts the children here at risk,” said Dostal.
Dostal adamantly denies that Meelo is being abused. She says a vet examined him Wednesday and gave Meelo a clean bill of health.
“He's our dog. He's part of the family,” said Dostal.
Before he was fired, Bergmanis admits he would regularly take Meelo home with him – even when his management told him not to.
“All I tried to do from the start is to work within the system to get Meelo out of there,” said Bergmanis.
A spokesperson at Dodge County Humane Society said even though this case is under investigation, Meelo has not been removed from the Jefferson house and the Humane Society believes Meelo is safe.
As for Joey Bergmanis he filled out a police report Wednesday – it’s his next step. He said he won't back down.