Good news came on Wednesday for the town of Elephant Butte, New Mexico and their community icon “Blue”, a blue-eyed Australian Heeler. After months of debate, officials have changed the town’s leash laws to allow Blue to roam free within a wireless fence.
Blue was abandoned by his owners over a decade ago and has since been a staple in the community. Despite several attempts at adopting him into a family, Blue never took to life in a home. Instead, Blue chooses to hang around the Butte General Store, where store owners have said he has spent years.
The community has come to together to support Blue. They have built an air conditioned and heated doghouse for him. Many visitors to the general store often give money to help with his care as well.
Due to Blue’s friendly personality and his celebrity status within the community, his attorney and caretakers (the owners of Butte General Store) tried to have him exempted from current leash laws. After their request was denied, both parties agreed that Blue could continue to roam free so long as a wireless fence was installed.
The story of Blue’s struggle to keep his freedom hit national headlines and Blue received over 3700 fans on Facebook.
“In his name, people have donated money to people with other dogs in need,” said Janice Connor, co-owner of the Butte General Store. “Dogs have been adopted through his Facebook page. All around, it has been a real positive thing.”
Not only do the new laws protect Blue, other pet owners can also breathe a sigh of relief. The change of ordinance also requires that animal control give warnings to owners before they can pick a dog. In addition, all complaints targeted towards a dog must be reported and verified before the pet owners are cited.
A wireless fence was donated by Invisible Fence of New Mexico and allows Blue a full acre to wander around the store.