Labrador finds abandoned baby on side of road, umbilical cord still attached


By Dave Andrusko

24 Hour News 8’s Henry Erb speaks to Jeff Kopp, who along with his dog Bobby found a newborn on the side of the road near Diamond Lake.

24 Hour News 8’s Henry Erb speaks to Jeff Kopp, who along with his dog Bobby found a newborn on the side of the road near Diamond Lake.

Mid-morning on Monday Jeff Kopp of White Cloud, Michigan, was walking Bobby, his black Labrador mix, when the dog pulled him down the road and toward a satellite dish.

Kopp told WOOD-TV that he normally doesn’t walk along Marion Road but that Bobby “seemed to be on a mission.”

The dog sniffed at something near the dish and when Kopp came closer he realized that what he first thought was a rabbit was actually a baby.

The baby, her umbilical cord still attached, was lying on her side “in the fetal position.” (She might have been out there as long as six hours, according to Lt. Chad Palmiter of the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department.)

WOOD-TV reported that Kopp called to a neighbor to call 911 and shouted for his wife and daughter, Cathleen Neal.

“He hollered for myself and my mother to get a blanket or a towel because he just found a baby,” Cathleen said. Initially the baby was not crying or moving.

Once she was picked up and wrapped in the blanket, “then eventually she started to cry and we knew that she was OK,” Kopp said. “It was a relief to me because I knew she was alive.”

When emergency responders arrived the baby was conscious and breathing, although she had some bruises and scrapes. She was taken to Gerber Memorial Hospital in Fremont.

According to published reports, later on Monday, authorities were able to find the child’s teenage mother. The sheriff’s office said she was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Before she was identified as the baby’s mother, the teenager had come outside, Cathleen Neal explained.

“When the young lady came out and asked us what was going on and I told her, she just made it seem like she didn’t know what was going on, but yet she was the one who had the baby,” Neal said.

“I know she’s a young girl, but she’s not stupid, so it really makes me wonder why,” Neal said of the baby’s mother. “It’s just really hard to believe. It’s really hard to believe that someone would do that.”

She told WOOD-TV that she thought the teen was probably “scared to death” and didn’t know what to do. “There are other options,” Neal said.

According to the television station, “Michigan has a ‘safe haven’ law that allows a person to anonymously surrender an infant within 72 hours of birth to an Emergency Service Provider, like a hospital, or police or fire station. In 2013, 11 infants were surrendered, according to the Michigan Department of Human Services.”