ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Officials in New Mexico’s lakeside town of Elephant Butte on Wednesday changed their leash law to let community icon-turned-national media star Blue the dog continue roaming free, within the confines of a wireless fence.
The vote ended a closely watched, monthslong dispute over whether the blue-eyed Australian heeler, who became a fixture in the town after being abandoned more than a decade ago, should be subject to the town’s ordinance.
Blue’s attorney and caretakers at the Butte General Store and Marine initially sought an exemption for Blue, citing his popularity in the community and friendly demeanor. After city officials refused, they reached a compromise to include wireless fences as an acceptable restraint under the law.
Blue has been hanging around the store for years. He has refused numerous attempts at adoption, so community members have built him an air-conditioned and heated dog house. Store visitors regularly donate cash for his care.
Blue’s fight over city demands that he be leashed or confined made national headlines and earned him more than 3,700 Facebook friends.
Janice Conner, who owns the general store with husband Bob Owen, said it’s been a long saga, but one that ended well for Blue, the community and dog lovers around the world.
Conner said Invisible Fence of New Mexico donated a fence that gives Blue about an acre of territory to roam around the store.