Saturday, December 9, 2023

Liberty and Justice are officially retired and returned to their breeder

Sunday turned out to be a rough day for Colonial Williamsburg’s canine mascot, Liberty the Briard, after she leapt and fell from a carriage. (WYDaily/Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg)
Colonial Williamsburg’s Briards, which were acquired in 2015 from a licensed breeder, have finished out their time on the job and have been returned to their breeder. (WYDaily/Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg)

Attention canine fans: Colonial Williamsburg’s Liberty and Justice have left the building.

Four months after Colonial Williamsburg announced the Briards were going to retire, the foundation has confirmed the dogs’ careers have come to a close with the foundation.

The two licensed therapy dogs finished out their third year at Colonial Williamsburg before being returned to their breeder, the foundation officials said.

At the end of 2018, the Briards officially retired, foundation spokesman Joe Straw confirmed this week. When the retirement was announced in September, Straw said there was no set date for their retirement.

Colonial Williamsburg has no plans to adopt new mascots. The dogs’ handlers were offered new roles with the foundation, the foundation said last year.

The retirement was prompted by multiple factors, including changes in services offered by the dogs’ longtime care and boarding provider. The dogs were also set to retire within two years.

RELATED STORY: Colonial Williamsburg’s canine mascots to retire later this year

The dogs were introduced online in August 2015. They were purchased as puppies from a licensed breeder in New Mexico, according to an online blog post at the time.

The post has since been removed.

In the post, Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Mitchell Reiss said the idea for the mascots came from witnessing the everyday interactions between guests and the dogs on Duke of Gloucester Street.

Justice’s and Liberty’s breeder is now responsible for re-homing the dogs, per their original contract with Colonial Williamsburg.

Previously, Straw declined to disclose how much Colonial Williamsburg paid for the dogs, the identity of their breeder and boarding provider and what specific changes prompted the decision to retire the dogs before the end of their contract.

“The top priorities for both the foundation and their breeder is the pair’s health, welfare and quality of life,” Straw said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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