Man whose friend took Steamboat pooch to Denver tells their story
Steamboat Springs — Jeff Hull, who was present outside a Denver apartment house Aug. 29 when Champ, the young dog belonging to June Florence was returned to her, said he and his friend, “Josh,” were motivated by good intentions and are glad the dog is back with its owner.
“We took very good care of that dog,” Hull said. “We fed him organic food. We had no intention of keeping the dog. He played nicely with my dog and I was hoping they could get together to play again. We’re not bad guys.”
Hull said he and Josh live in Steamboat and were preparing to leave town on Aug. 27 in time to begin a temporary job erecting a fence for a music event in Denver, when Josh encountered Champ. Hull said Champ was off leash and did not have identification on a “slip collar” he was wearing.
“If there was a tag on it, we would have called right away,” Hull said.
Hull added that Champ followed Josh to West Acres Mobile Home Park.
Hull said Josh asked around the neighborhood if anyone knew of the dog or its owner and were told by one party that he’d been wandering the neighborhood for about three days. He said they made a quick decision to keep Champ in their care in Denver over the weekend, with the intention of returning with him afterwards.
Florence confirmed Champ was not wearing an ID tag when he disappeared, but categorically denied he had been loose for three days, and added that the absence of I.D. was not a reason for the me to leave Steamboat with her pet.
Florence said Friday she was skeptical that the men made an effort to locate her given that within a short time after Champ’s disappearance, a large number of friends had begun canvasing the neighborhood and putting up posters seeking his return. The police and animal control also responded.
Hull disputed statements made by in an article in the Sept. 3 Today about Champ’s disappearance in which people accompanying Florence to Denver to retrieve the dog said Josh was backed up by a party of five people, one of whom approached one of them with an aggressive posture. Hull said he was the only other person accompanying Josh and he was not confrontational.
“In hindsight, I realize we should have checked around more,” Hull said. “I’m a really big animal lover … We didn’t mean to upset anyone, or have any ill intentions. I know, it made things kind of crazy.”
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