From left, Tiya, Bruce, Camile and Range reunite with Bruce for a moment in the Jackson County Animal Shelter. pennell photo - Bob Pennell

Family's dog spared

Velvety ears flapping and strands of drool flying from his jowls, Bruce bounded up to the Eider family for a rambunctious reunion at the Jackson County Animal Shelter Friday afternoon.

The family visited the dog, but won't be able to take him home yet. Donations poured in at the shelter to help the Eiders reclaim their burly mixed-breed dog, who was picked up running loose in the White City area and faced death when he went unclaimed for 10 days, the maximum time county ordinances require the shelter to keep animals.

Commissioner Jack Walker stepped in to give the family more time to get the money to pay the $13-per-day fee the county charges for keeping animals, and his licensing and vaccination costs.

Shelter director Colleen Macuk said callers pledged to send in hundreds of dollars and enough money was donated to pay those costs, as well as for his neutering and obedience training. Any additional money donated at the shelter will be used for medical care for the nearly 8,000 animals that come through the shelter each year, she said.

Now the Eiders just have to arrange for a responsible, temporary home for their pet, adopted as a puppy two years ago from in front of Wal-Mart. They can't have the 55-pound dog, whose lineage appears to include boxer, mastiff, hound, pit bull, and allegedly even some spaniel, at the motel where they are staying.

Camile Eider said she hopes a family friend who has two large dogs that Bruce likes to play with and a securely fenced yard in White City can take him early next week, as soon as he is neutered and vaccinated.

"In the end, the goal is getting him home with us in a place that's good for us all," Eider said.

She, her husband, Randy, and their four children — Cody, 14; Tiya, 12; Range, 10; and Mahdi, 8 — were evicted in June from a White City home they had rented for nine years. Randy, who works for a small logging operation that doesn't provide health insurance, had a heart attack in September 2006 that left him unable to work for nine months. Medical bills piled up and the family's finances spiraled out of control.

They spent the summer in local campgrounds. Then, as the weather got colder, they moved to yurts at state parks, then into motels. They had given Bruce to one of Randy Eider's friends, but he escaped and landed in the shelter.

Bruce already had a history there, and had been picked up once in Washington when he escaped on a family vacation. In Jackson County he'd been picked up for running loose and not having a license in July 2006. He chased a 3-year-old and pulled the child to the ground in December 2006, an incident that resulted in a dangerous dog citation. He also still lacked his rabies shot and license at that time. His license and vaccinations are due to be renewed this month, county records show.

"In the end, we want what's best for the dog," Macuk said. "We have to ensure we're taking responsibility for him and that they can be responsible, too."

She hopes that neutering and training will keep Bruce out of trouble and notes that the training will help all the family members step up and provide the guidance he needs.

Bruce raced around a small room at the shelter where the Eiders visited him, then lolled on his back for a belly rub as the kids gathered around him.

Donations still can be made at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, 5595 S. Pacific Highway, Phoenix, or call the shelter at 774-6654 and leave a message.

Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485 or at

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