It’s a sad truth that some dogs live most of their lives chained outside their homes. As a dog lover it’s so hard to see. So what you should do when you see a dog left out in the cold? The short answer is – don’t take matters into your own hands – report it to animal control and the authorities.
Photo: Amy Haas-Gray/Facebook
All dogs deserve a home but not all homes deserve a dog. Snow has started falling, piles of snow cover lawns, and the bitter cold makes life a struggle for some – especially dogs.
Last year, a Washington woman made headlines when she took a dog she found tied up in the cold.The obese and arthritic dog was tied to a trailer in the cold and wet Northwest.
Judy Camp took the dog home and named him Tank. But since dogs are considered property, Judy was charged with theft.
In the eyes of dog lovers, Camp did nothing wrong by taking the dog but she still faced potential jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. Camp eventually convinced Tank’s original owners to let her buy the dog for $500. She received a sentence of community service and relocated Tank to a special ranch for disabled dogs in Idaho.
Photo: Spokesman Review/Facebook
Tank’s story isn’t rare. There are many dogs tied outside their homes without proper shelter – whether it’s scorching hot or freezing cold. And because animals are still considered people’s property, doing the right thing by taking the dog away from that situation can become complicated in the eyes of the law.
Neglecting animals is a crime, but proving someone is committing neglect can be tricky – especially since dog tethering laws vary from community to community. While some communities have prohibited chaining dogs outside, some places still don’t have laws that address chaining specifically as a form of neglect.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has listed guidelines for what to do if you see a dog let out in the cold.
- Document everything. Jot down the date, time, and location of the neglected dog and any other information that might be relevant. Take photos or videos to help tell the situation.
- Show the evidence to your local animal control agency or sheriff’s office. Make sure to take note of the representative you speak to, so that you can follow up with the complaint in a few days.
- Call the agency or the sheriff’s office after you’ve issued your complaint for updates and to make sure they that they’ve taken action or followed up on the situation.
It may be a bit intimidating to contact the authorities but it is the best way to help a neglected dog.
“Our most constant companions — dogs and cats — feel the effects of winter weather as much as we do, only they are often cast outside to weather the cold or a storm owing to a misconception that the fur on their backs will insulate them from suffering,” the HSUS writes. “Without proper shelter, food and water, these domesticated animals’ chances of survival in frigid temperatures is greatly decreased.”
Source: The Dodo