Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Neighbor's friendship versus dog's life

I had to call Animal Control yesterday because of the dog a few doors down. He lives on a chain 24/7 and had managed to get the chain hooked on top of the chain-link fence so that he was basically stuck in a standing position; he couldn't get into his house, reach his water or food, or even lie down. I think he was actually stuck like that since the day before, because he kept me awake all night with his barking (apparently barking for help) and in the morning I finally decided to go see what the problem was. Now I feel really bad for not checking on him sooner, but even more shocking to me is that none of the neighbors closest to that house apparently noticed or cared!

Not wanting to piss these people off, as they are friends with our next-door neighbors, I decided to go next door before calling AC. Maybe there was a good reason why this was going on. Maybe someone had broken in, killed the family, and ran off, and the dog had gotten caught on the fence while trying to get at the perpetrator. But nobody answered the door and there was no sign of a break-in, and considering the dog had been barking like this since the wee hours of the morning, I think these folks probably just went out of town for the Easter weekend.

I was even more dismayed to notice that there was no food bowl anywhere in sight. Okay, maybe they had a friend coming by regularly to feed the dog. Maybe. I looked at the muddy enclosure, the paper-thin walls of the filthy dog "house", and the dog that should have been pure white and fluffy but was instead mud-gray and matted. I went toward the dog slightly, trying to see whether he'd be agreeable to my assistance, and he went nuts. I don't blame him; he was basically in a living hell. But I wasn't about to get bitten - or accused of trespassing.

Well, I wasn't just going to let that poor dog hang there. I went home and called Animal Control. Three officers showed up about 40 minutes later. I was back at home by then, but I could see the house from my window. To my great surprise, they didn't bother to untangle the dog from the fence. Instead, they slipped a leash around his neck (with some help from some dog treats), unhooked the chain from his collar - and piled him into their truck! Then they took quite a few photos of dog and enclosure, left a note on the door of the home, and drove off with the dog. I guess they had more concerns than I had anticipated; perhaps once they were able to handle the dog, some other problems became apparent.

Regardless, I'm glad they took the dog. When they unhooked the dog from the chain, that dog transformed. He went from hostile to overjoyed, his tail wagged like crazy and he wiggled up against the officers for petting as they took photos. He was so glad to be rescued from that nightmare, and so happy that someone was actually paying attention to him for once.

Byrd worries that when the owners come to pick up their dog from the shelter, AC will name me as the person who reported the problem, and that this will make several neighbors angry at us. Frankly, I don't care. Who wants to be friendly with someone who advocates cruelty to animals? The dog would eventually have strangled himself when he collapsed from exhaustion, dehydration, exposure, and starvation. Anyone who's okay with that is no friend of mine. I'd rather pay a little fine to AC and get my dog back safe and sound than come home from vacation to discover my dog hung himself and none of the neighbors did anything about it.


happypitbull said...

Here's a real treat (total sarcasm here) for those of you wondering how this story ends. The dog never came home. I can think of several reasons why the neighbors might have decided not to retrieve their dog, but nothing that casts my neighbors as responsible, caring individuals. Perhaps the dog had terminal cancer and had to be euthanized (though if this were true, why wasn't this done before animal control stepped in?). Perhaps the owners couldn't afford to pay animal control's fine and boarding fees (like they can't afford to get their dog vaccinated, no doubt). Most likely, though, the owners just decided the dog was more trouble than it was worth.

This really steams my eggs more than any other reason, because that poor dog is now an unsocialized, untrained, large adult dog that doesn't have a chance in hell at being adopted. My asinine, irresponsible neighbors bought a puppy, totally ruined it, tortured it for years by forcing it to live alone outside on a chain in the mud, and then turned their back on it in the end. That dog is probably dead.

And you know what chaps my hide even more? That wasn't their only dog. The other one is kept out of sight, but I hear it yapping from a mysterious location deep within their trash-filled yard sometimes.

Yeah, real nice. There oughta be a law.

P-nut & Captain said...

I totally 'get it' - went thru the same situation (Boxer hanging by his chain on fence) and a few yards away an intact male APBT on a 6 foot chain and a few yards from him - a very pregnant pied female chained to the underside of the back stairs (where she had her litter under the 'warmth' of a light bulb and behind a flimsy piece of plywood). AC didnt do a thing. This situation has been going on at this home for as long as I have lived here - still looks the same. I guess the female was either bred to the male PB or some stray was able to get to her. She has had 4 litters that I know of so far. AC said they can only help if I see her chained and in season or if there is no water. There are five gallon buckets near the chained dogs (when they arent tipped over). I used to toss food up to them when I could get close enough as they were all painfully thin. So sad.

Anyway - love your blog. You are not alone.