Apollo the pit bull now up for adoption

Apollo on January 30 / photo: Stevens-Swan Humane Society

What could be the 'final chapter' of Apollo: The Stevens-Swan Humane Society is now accepting applications for the pit bull's adoption. Jerry Kraus says the shelter will accept applications for about a week before making a decision. Qualifications:no children, no other pets, and no crates or cages---Apollo is 'not a big fan' of cages and does not like being put into the kennel at the Utica shelter, and the staff wants him to not have another bad experience. "He's beginning to trust humans again," says Kraus. And there are other signs he's thriving: Apollo has gained 20 pounds since being found in January, tied to a picnic table outside a Utica bar near the F.X. Matt Brewery. He was frozen to the ice. At the shelter, they talk about the 'Apollo Effect.' Apollo's story has brought comment--and donations--from all over the world. Over $5,000 has come in to pay his medical bills. There are also pet toys and supplies, which have come in by the carton full.Apollo spends his last days at the shelter lounging on a paw-printed dog bed, set in the office area, surrounded by new toys, and by people who pet him and give him lots of TLC. Unline the cowering, shivering dog we saw in January, he's now bright and responds to his name.

Another part of the 'Apollo Effect' is what staffers call the Apollo Shrine: a wall full of notes, many from children, pouring out their hearts and concerns. "Hope you get even better," reads one. "Sorry about your past, says another---but look at you now!"Kraus says Apollo has been a lightning rod, on the issues of animal cruelty and public awareness of the care of animals (see related story today on the adoption of Angel and Nemo at Rome's shelter).

And the legacy continues: 'Rosie' is the latest stray to come into Stevens-Swan. The boxer is so thin, her hips protrude like knobs at the top of her back, and each rib shows through. She's also fearful, growling and barking at anything that moves. But, she's at the shelter now and will have a new, happier home---thanks in part to Apollo's story.

Applications for adoption are at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society at 738-4357, or visit their website at

READ THE PREVIOUS APOLLO STORIES, AND FEEL FREE TO COMMENT:-------------------------------------------

Thursday February 17th Update:

Apollo, the pit bull left outside in sub-zero temperatures, is ready to be adopted.

The Stevens-Swan Humane Society says after almost four weeks of recovery, the time is right to try to find a new home for Apollo. He was found tied to a table outside a Utica bar on January 24th. Temperatures dipped well below zero at the time. Apollo's skin was partially frozen to the ground.

Stevens-Swan says people interested in adopting Apollo should have some experience with special needs dogs. Workers at the shelter are also asking for potential adopters who have no children or other pets in the house. They say Apollo should not be kept in a crate.

Applications for adoption will be available at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society starting Tuesday, February 22nd. For more information, call Stevens-Swan at 738-4357, or visit their website at

Apollo's former owner, Michael Jenkins, says Apollo ran away from him, and he doesn't know how Apollo ended up tied to that table. He was charged with having an unlicensed, unleashed, unvaccinated dog. Jenkins was sentenced to 75 hours of community service at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society. However, the Humane Society has asked the judge to reconsider the sentence.

The Stevens-Swan Humane Society responded Tuesday to the sentencing of Michael Jenkins. Apollo's former owner has been ordered to perform 75 hours of community service at the center.

From the Humane Society website:

Regarding Judge Balzano's assignment of Apollo's prior owner to perform community service work here at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society: We did not anticipate his placement here and have respectfully asked Judge Balzano to consider another location for his placement for community service.

Monday Februar y 7th Update:

CNY Central's Brandon Roth spoke with Michael Jenkins, Apollo the pit bull's former owner, outside of court in Utica where he was sentenced to community service Monday morning.

Jenkins will perform 75 hours of community service at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society in Utica. He was charged with having an unlicensed, unvaccinated dog and having a dog running at large. The dog was found tied to a table in freezing temperatures on January 31st.

Jenkins told Roth he bought the dog from a neighbor three months ago. At the time Apollo was named "Macho" and Jenkins says the dog was sick when he took over his care.

"When the guy sold him to me he told me his name was 'Macho', so I called him 'Macho'. I love him, my grandkids love him. At the time dog ran away he was outside with me and I was trying to teach him different commands. He saw a cat he took off from me whoever found him tied him up," he says.

Jenkins says he spent the next three days looking for the dog and went to police as soon as he found out they had found him.

"I really wish they would find the person who tied him up. I looked for him the best I could. I couldn't find him. I found the police once I heard they found him. The police didn't find me, I found the police," he says.

Jenkins says Apollo not only got away from him the night before the dog was found frozen, but that he had also run away three days earlier. He says he went to the Utica Police as soon as Apollo was found.

After he was sentenced, Jenkins asked the judge for permission to speak to the court. He said because so many people have accused him of abuse, he wanted to come forward to state he did not tie the dog up. Jenkins says he cared for the dog and was relieved when it was found alive. He wants to do the right thing and hopes speaking out will help.

Several animal welfare activists turned up outside Utica City Court to protest against Jenkins. Carmelita Balsdon, a volunteer at the Steven-Swan Humane Society, says she does not believe Jenkins treated Apollo properly.

"We don't know Mr. Jenkins, but we know Apollo, and he was in really bad shape. He says he is an animal lover but we all know he's not," she says.

Many people have been upset that more serious charges were not levied against Jenkins in the case. Prosecutors have said there is not enough evidence to charge anyone with animal abuse.

You can watch Brandon's complete interview with Michael Jenkins tonight at 5:00 and 6:00 pm on NBC3 and CBS5.

Update from Friday, February 4: The case of 'Apollo', the Utica pit bull, is getting a lot of attention at the Oneida County District Attorney's office. Apollo is the three-year-old tan and white dog that was found tied to a picnic bench frozen to the ice and snow on the morning of January 24th when temperatures were well below zero. While District Attorney Scott McNamara continues the investigation into the case he is also had a response from the public larger than any he's had for the most serious of crimes against children. McNamara is a dog owner himself. He appreciates the passion of people upset about the case of Apollo, but he would also like to see the same outrage when helpless children are victims of crime. "I have more e-mails on this case than the entire time that I had the case of a three month old baby shot by his father," said the District Attorney. He is referring to the case of Adam Theall, the 21-year old-man from Rome who shot his three month old son at point blank range with a shotgun while State Troopers confronted him during a dispute in May of last year. The investigation by the police and the District Attorney's office into Apollo's owner Michael Jenkins has not yet led to any information that would escalate the charges against Jenkins, who is scheduled to appear in Utica City Court Monday morning to answer to his appearance tickets for having an unleashed, unvaccinated and unlicensed dog. Jenkins told police he was walking his dog, who he called 'Macho', Sunday, January 23rd around 8:30 p.m. when the pit bull broke loose to chase a cat. Jenkins said he searched for his dog, but could not find him. He did not report the dog missing or call anyone for assistance. The District Attorney admits he's unsure whether Jenkins has told the full story of the events that led to Apollo being tied to the picnic table that night. However, he has a legal standard to meet when the case comes to court. "We have nothing to disprove this guy's story. We have no evidence from a veterinarian who can testify that this dog had long term neglect or malnourishment." The veterinarian who examined Apollo said the dog had fleas, worms and a gastrointestinal bug that left it malnourished at the time it was found. McNamara revealed investigators did go to Jenkins' home, where they found an appropriate environment to house a dog including water and a plentiful amount of dog food. There is no evidence that Apollo was involved in dog fighting. The veterinarian did not see scars or injuries from fights. Scratches on Apollo appear to be consistent with scratching himself because of the problem with fleas. McNamara said the Humane Society has told him Apollo is an aggressive dog, but when it comes to elevating charges he said, "A lot of people speculate. We can't speculate in court." The prosecutor said holds out hope a witness will come forward to further explain what happened to Apollo including who actually tied him to the picnic table in front of the bar around the corner from the Saranac/Utica Club brewery. McNamara said, "If we get any information between now and then that would change the facts we would escalate charges. It's an ongoing investigation until there is a legal impediment to going further such as a conviction." Apollo continues to recover in the custody of the Stevens-Swan Humane Society in Utica.

Update from Thursday, February 3:

A pit bull found frozen to the ground outside of a Utica bar last month has helped raise thousands of dollars for animal care, and local organizers hope to raise even more money tonight.

Apollo is a three-year-old pit bull who was found tied up in sub-zero temperatures last month. He is recovering from his injuries at the Stevens-Swan Humane Society in Utica and has become the ~poster dog TM for animal welfare in Central New York.

Stevens-Swan Executive director Diane Broccoli says that Apollo is recovering nicely from injuries suffered when he was lifted off of the frozen ground. Broccoli says he has gained 15 pounds since he arrived at the shelter about two and a half weeks ago.

Broccoli says hundreds of people have shown an interest in adopting Apollo, but right now he is still taking medication to treat an infection. When Apollo TMs his medical treatment is complete, Broccoli says the Humane Society will begin accepting applications for his adoption, contrary to published reports.

Tonight TMs benefit, to be held at the Electric Company on Varick Street in Utica, will feature several Utica-area bands and will begin at 9:30 p.m. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Stevens-Swan Humane Society, earmarked to help fund the care of Apollo and the other animals living at the shelter.

A telethon held late last month to benefit Apollo and the Humane Society raised more than $111,000.

Update from Sunday, January 30:

Apollo the pit bull, rescued from being frozen to ice last Monday morning, is well on the road to recovery.The three-year-old dog was returned to the Stevens-Swan Humane Society on Thursday, and is now in a special holding area where Jerry Kraus says he's getting lots of TLC from staff members. He's gained 12 pounds since his rescue, and a trip to the vet where he was treated for dehydration and more.

At the shelter, they're calling it the 'Apollo effect': donations for the pit bull's recovery have come in from all over the USA, as well as from England, Canada and more. His fund totals over $4,000. In addition, a Humane Society telethon on WKTV in Utica station (which featured a 'cameo' by Apollo) brought in $11,000 more than last year's $100,000.

Kraus says there's a long list of people waiting to adopt, but it will be a while: Apollo still has to undergo temperament testing, to ensure he's compatible with people and with other animals, and he must be neutered before he's adopted out.

Update from Friday, January 28:

CNY Central has learned the name of the owner of "Apollo", the pit bull who was found Monday morning in Utica tied to a picnic table in sub-zero weather. The owner of the dog is Michael Jenkins of Utica.

CNY Central has learned from court documents that Utica Police wrote two tickets for Jenkins, for which he will now have to answer in court. The first relates to the events of Sunday, January 23rd, at 8:30 p.m. That's when he told police he was walking his dog and the three-year-old tan and white pit bull, who he called "Macho", got away from him. Police ticketed Jenkins for a city ordinance violation of having a dog running at large unleashed.

The second ticket was issued for violations of January 24th which was the morning the dog was found by police after neighbors called 911 because they heard a dog crying. On that date Michael Jenkins is ticketed for failure to vaccinate and license his dog named Macho.

Jenkins is scheduled to answer to the three violations on February 7th in Utica City Court before Judge John Balzaino.

The Utica Police Department did not release the name of Apollo's owner citing the numerous threatening messages that have been written in online forums such as media websites and Facebook.

We here at CNY Central feel it's necessary to explain to our users the reason behind our decision to release the owner's name.

We carefully deliberated whether we should report the name to the public. We considered the intense and, at times, threatening rhetoric that has flooded our website and Facebook this week related to the way Apollo was treated. In the end we decided it was in the public's interest to have full disclosure of as much of the story that is available including the name of Apollo's, now former, owner.

However, we have decided not to release Jenkins' address. We also feel it's important to stress again that Michael Jenkins is not charged with animal cruelty or even a crime. His violations are the equivalent of a speeding ticket.

What do you think of CNY Central's decision? Please let us know in the "comments" section below.

Thursday evening update:

As of Thursday, police have still not released the name the owner of "Apollo", the pit bull found frozen to the ground outside a Utica bar Sunday night.

Utica Police Sgt. Steve Hauck said Wednesday that due to their concern for all parties involved, police will not release the name of Apollo TMs owner. Hauck clarified that there is concern for the owner's safety because of threatening comments made online.

Apollo's owner has been charged with owning an unvaccinated dog, dog running at large, and unlicensed dog. Hauck says more serious charges were not levied due to a lack of evidence in the case.

Hauck says Apollo will remain in the custody of the Stevens-Swan Humane Society while he recovers from his injuries. The skin on his legs and paws was badly damaged when he was lifted from the ground, where he was frozen in place after being tied to a table.

Robert Cooney from the Stevens-Swan Humane Society says many people are upset about what happened to Apollo and the fact the owner is not facing more charges.

"I'm pretty sure if they were to release his name, a lot of people would try to find him without a doubt," says Cooney. "A lot of people here would love to find him and do the same thing to him that he did to that poor animal."

Early Thursday afternoon, the Humane Society offered an update on Apollo's condition, saying that his health is improving. They said he is getting more comfortable around people. He was very jittery and nervous when they first brought him in, but now he will allow people to approach him more easily. He was not currently at the shelter when CNY Central was there, because he was getting ready to appear on WKTV-TV's humane society benefit telethon later in the day.

The Humane Society of Rome says animal abuse is a larger problem than just this one case. Executive Director Susan Grande says last year they received a dog who was freezing and tied to a tree. Just last week, a dog was brought in who was thrown out of a car. Because it was dark, the person who found the dog was not able to read the car's license plate. Now, the Humane Society is helping a dog, Werner, who came in with signs of abuse. He is just getting used to being around people again.

"I'm afraid it's not all that uncommon," says Grande. "We see abused dogs at least once a month, as well as cats."

The Rome Humane Society is raising money to buy a new building. Staff members say it would allow the organization to help abandoned or abused animals, but they have only been able to raise about $100,000 of the $1 million they need.

Grande says what happened to Apollo can serve as a reminder that everyone should keep an eye out for abuse. If they suspect something is wrong, they should contact their local police department.

We want your opinion on this story. Do you think the name of Apollo's owner should be released? Scroll to the bottom of this page and vote in our poll, and leave a comment letting us know what you think.

Wednesday, January 26 update:

Utica Police have announced charges in the case of a pit bull nicknamed "Apollo" who was found frozen to the ground outside of a bar earlier this week.

According to spokesman Sgt. Steve Hauck, police have concluded their investigation into the weekend incident. Hauck says after multiple interviews with the dog TMs owner, former owners, and neighbors, Animal Control officers have cited the dog's owner on the charges of owning an unvaccinated dog, dog running at large, and unlicensed dog.

Hauck tells CNY Central that police don't have evidence to support more charges. The owner claims Apollo ran off while they were walking at about 8:00 Sunday night. Hauck says there are no witnesses who can say that the owner tied Apollo to the table where he was found. Hauck says the fact that Apollo was discovered tied up and frozen in the snow and ice was not enough to prove the case.

In Utica, many people are shocked Apollo's owner won't face animal cruelty charges.

"It's a terrible thing that someone could leave a dog out in those conditions," says Dave Valentine, who lives in Utica. "It's animal abuse."

Nastassia Mateo says she used to see Apollo running around her neighborhood.

"It's kind of breathtaking to see a dog that was healthy over the summer and see him now," she says. "It's sad people can do that to their animals."

Police are thanking the public for their assistance in solving the case.

These charges come on the heels of news that Utica Mayor David Roefaro is asking the state to increase the penalites for animal abuse.

Animal abuse is currently a felony in New York State, but Roefaro says the way the law is written makes it very difficult to prosecute and most cases of animal cruelty end up as misdemeanors.

"We have to have felony laws on the books that have teeth - that we can prosecute. Because the laws on the books that we have right now are lackluster. These are what we call 'agriculture and market laws'. They need to be updated. They need to have more enforcement. That's why I wrote the government" he says.

Mayor Roefaro included in his letter to the governor a list of other recent animal abuse crimes in the Utica area. He says animal abuse is a growing problem that often leads to bigger crimes.

"I truly feel that anyone who can do this to a living creature can do this to a human as well," he says.

Click here for a summary of New York's animal abuse laws from the State Bar Association.

Apollo is recovering from his injuries at a local veterinary hospital. Though he is still sick, he is expected to recover.

The Stevens-Swan Humane Society is overseeing Apollo's care. Click here for information on how to make donation.

WKTV-TV in Utica is holding a fundraising telethon on Thursday to help benefit the Humane Society. Click here for more information .

You can also send a donation to the following address:

Apollo TMs Fund Stevens-Swan Humane Society5664 Horatio StreetUtica, NY 13502

6:00 p.m. Tuesday update:

Just a day after being found frozen to the ground outside a Utica bar, the three year old pit bull found frozen to the ground outside a Utica bar has been named "Apollo" by Stevens-Swan Humane Society staff. Apollo is recovering at a Utica area veterinary hospital and was still there on Tuesday night. He's been able to hold food and water down but he will still require much more treatment before he can go to a new home.

"The dog is eating and drinking, the vet says he is alert and was eating his breakfast the last time we talked to him. So he is doing better, I can't say he's out of the woods yet," said Tiffiny Wilson from the Human Society. "He's on IV fluids, IV antibiotics. he's eating today and he was awake and alert and that's as hopeful as we can be right now. For what he's been through, that's the best we can hope for."

On Tuesday the phones at Stevens-Swan Humane Society were ringing non stop. Staff said 90% of the calls are about the frozen pit bull. Utica Police have also been swamped with calls and leads. Some of the tips have coming in on the police department's Facebook page.

"Last I checked we had about 50 messages and comments on there. What's happened from there is people have reached out to us and called on the phone," said Steven Hauck from the Utica Police Department.

Police say those calls led them to the dog's owner. They interviewed him on Tuesday afternoon and police say the case could bring animal cruelty charges. They're investigating the owner's version of what happened to the dog.

Nick Kelderman lives just down the street from the bar where Apollo was found. Kelderman, who has two dogs of his own, believes Apollo lived in the neighborhood and is outraged that someone could leave a small dog outside to freeze.

"Even a big dog, you get him on a leash for just a minute or so. You never leave a small dog out in these sub zero temperatures," said Kelderman.

The Humane Society said they are grateful for the $700 in donations that have come in for Apollo. Staff said if Apollo can pull through, he will likely have expensive medical bills for a long time.

It will be a while before Apollo can go to a new home. The Humane Society must wait until he is healthy enough and the criminal investigation is concluded. Both of those steps could take a while but if it is possible, Apollo's adoption would be handled on a first come first serve basis.

"It could be months from now. It's not going to be tomorrow. It's probably not going to be next week. It's going to be a good amount of time from now," said Wilson.

Link to the Humane Society here.

5:00 p.m. Tuesday update:

Utica Police Sgt. Steven Hauck says investigators have located and interviewed the owner of the pit bull, which police have nicknamed "Apollo". Police are working with Animal Control and the Humane Association on what charges might be filed.

Officers are still checking on the details of the owner's version of what happened to the dog. It's likely any charges will be filed on Wednesday.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday update:

People caring for the pit bull are calling him "Apollo".

The Stevens-Swan Humane Society says Apollo is eating and drinking, which is a "big step" up from yesterday.

The dog remains in serious condition at a nearby veterinary clinic, but it might be able to return to Stevens-Swan sometime today or tomorrow. It's currently getting an IV drip to help battle dehydration.

The Human Society is receiving a lot of calls for adoption of Apollo, but CNYcentral's Alex Dunbar reports it will be a number of weeks or even months before it will be medically cleared for adoption.

Read Matt's Memo blog about the discovery of Apollo the pit bull in frozen conditions.

Dunbar is in Oneida County following up on this story. He says that Utica Police have received good leads on the case, some through their Facebook page.

Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Hauck says he expects the case to be resolved later today. Hauck says investigators have received "a lot" of calls about the dog.

10:00 p.m. Monday update:

As we wait for investigators to reveal more information about how the search for the abused pit bull TMs owner is going, the anger being felt by everyone who hears this story is spreading online. The owner of this animal should be left out in the cold for death as well, one person wrote to us here on Another says, Some people should never own animals. Animal abusers are the lowest form of life.

Utica Police used the department TMs Facebook page to spread word about their need for tips in this case, and the image of the adorable dog, sad eyes looking at the camera struck a nerve in everyone who heard about the dog TMs plight.

On the CNYcentral Facebook page many are writing in with the same sentiment. One of our Facebook friends said, I believe the charges for treating animals like this case are not strict enough!

4:20 p.m. Monday update:

Utica Police say the pit bull found frozen to ice this morning is now eating, though he's a long way from being well.

A neighbor heard the dog crying around 5:30 Monday morning. Police found him tied to a table outside of the MNO Bar on Utica's west end, at Dewitt and Whitesboro Streets, just blocks from the FX Matt Brewery. When the officer rescued him, skin tore from the dog's rear end and feet, where he was frozen to the ice.

The three-year-old old pit bull was taken to Stevens-Swan Humane Society, where staffers warmed him with blankets. Shelter spokesman Jerry Kraus says the dog appears underfed and skinny, and shows signs of abuse. Kraus says the dog tried to eat, but could not keep food down. Soiled blankets are being tested as part of the criminal investigation.

The dog is now at a veterinary clinic for for more evaluation and treatment.

Phones have been ringing off the hook at the Humane Society, which is welcoming donations to cover vet bills. They can be reached at 738-4357. Utica Police have received a lot of calls about the case. If you have any information you're asked to call 223-3500. Officers are recanvassing the neighborhood, looking for anyone who might help in tracking the person who abandoned the dog.

The Utica Police Facebook page is also updating the dog's condition. Late Monday afternoon the dog appears to be eating better, but it may also have an infection.

Original Story from Monday, January 24:

The Utica Police Department is looking for the public's help in finding the owner of a dog that was left outside in this morning's frigid temperatures.

According to the police department's Facebook page, the pit bull was left outside overnight, tied up to a table at the corner of Whitesboro Street and Dewitt Street.

According to an article in the Utica Daily News, a neighbor called police when she heard the dog crying at about 5:30 this morning. The report says when police arrived, "They were disturbed by what they saw - blood on the snowy sidewalk and the picnic table where the dog was tied up."

According to police, the dog has marks on his face and is not taken care of.

The report says at one point, the pup was frozen to the ground with icicles all over it.

The dog is male, approximately three years old. If you have any information about the owner or where they live, you are asked to call 223-3500.