Is Oreo Patriot’s Dog?

Posted On June 26, 2012

Oreo the dog.


(Patriot, Ind.) – Some Patriot residents are howling at the moon after the so-called town dog led to a resident being cited and fined.


Marilyn Cook says the pit bull mix in question, Oreo, is unofficially adopted by a few residents as he has been roaming in town for the past four years.


“Patriot was a big dog dumping town a few years ago. People would let them go out here. We think that’s how Oreo showed up,” Cook says.


Cook’s friend, Sandy Thatcher, had been feeding Oreo for much of that time, although he still ran free throughout the quiet Switzerland County town of 209 people.


The dog lived a relatively carefree life until last January. That’s when Switzerland County Animal Control cited Thatcher for allowing a dog to run loose and harboring an unimmunized dog.


Tara Hite with Switzerland County Animal Control said county ordinance assigns ownership of a stray dog to any person who shelters or feeds it for at least three days. Thatcher admitted to officers that she had been feeding Oreo for years.


Still, Cook does not understand why Oreo has suddenly become a target for animal control officers.




“If he was doing things like biting kids or other problems, I could see this, but he’s not,” Cook says.


But, Hite says animal control has been getting two to three complaints a week about Oreo.


“The dog has been hit by a car a few times. Somebody could get hurt if they swerve to avoid him,” Hite claims, adding that Thatcher had been bitten by Oreo following his most recent run-in with a vehicle.


Cook claims animal control has threatened to euthanize Oreo, but Hite says that option is not being considered as long as Thatcher or somebody else takes care of him.


Thatcher was in Switzerland Circuit Court Monday to meet with animal control about the citation. She has been ordered to pay a $100 fine and has 30 days to get Oreo a rabies vaccine.


Cook has begun circulating a petition to have Oreo named the unofficial Mayor of Patriot. So far over 100 people have signed it. Donations totaling $87 have also been gathered to help Thatcher pay the fine.