What’s a Girl To Do?

I have a dilema and I’m hoping my kind, intelligent, compassionate, and probably more-level-headed-than-me, readers can help.  Here’s the situation: I have started noticing that the neighbors a few houses down leave their dog in a crate, in the garage, all day long.  Usually the garage door is barely cracked so I can’t see in but whenever we walk by with our dogs, the dog goes crazy.  And every time the garage door is open I can see in and it’s always there.  So, I can’t say with 100% certainty, but since every time I have seen it, it has been at various times of the day, I have to assume the dog basically just lives out there.

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If you don’t know, I live in Florida.  Northern Florida, to be exact, where it is not only hot, but miserably humid as well.  The dog appears to be some sort of Husky/Shepard mix to make matters worse.  He’s gorgeous, but has a big fluffy coat that I can only imagine greatly intensifies his misery.  Every time I drive by the house I get sick to my stomach thinking about the poor dog, stuck in a crate, in a super hot garage, with not even air circulation to help ease the stagnant heat.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is animal cruelty.

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So this morning we were taking our dogs for a walk and sure enough as we walked past the house, the dog started barking like crazy.  We got a couple of houses down and I heard a man shout.  I turned around to see the big, white dog barreling towards us.  I tightened my grip on the leashes and shouted at the guy, “Grab your dog!”  I was totally envisioning an attack.  Not that I would have been mad at the dog, because I can only assume he is extremely under socialized, but I was worried nonetheless.  Thankfully the dog stopped before he got to us and reluctantly went back to his owner as he was being called.  Then I watched the dog cower down and roll over on his back and the guy smacked him in the head and yelled at him.  Not on my watch!  I threw the leashes to Rich and ran over.  “Hey!  Sir!  Stop!”  The guy had a hold of the dog’s collar and turned to stare at me.

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I was torn.  I wanted to run right up to the man and grab the dog away from him while screaming at him.  I knew this wouldn’t get me very far though, so I managed to calm myself down (a little, I was shaking like crazy) and say to him, “I’ve actually been wanting to  talk to you.  Do you leave your dog in that crate in your garage all day long?”  He gave me a nasty look and just said, “No.”  “Well, every single time I drive or walk by, he’s in there and it’s just so hot out that I’ve been really worried about him.”  Again, with a glare, “Well are you on a set schedule?”  “No sir, actually I’m not which is why I’ve been so concerned because no matter the time or day, he’s in there.”  “Well most of the time he’s out in the back yard with the other dogs.”  This caught me off guard.  They have other dogs?  Where do they keep those?  Do they get to go inside?  Why doesn’t this dog?  I wasn’t entirely sure how to continue so I said, “Well, I’ve been really considering calling Animal Control because leaving your dog out there is animal cruelty.”  This got no response other than a really ugly look.  “I’m sorry to bother you, it’s just I rescue dogs, and I see abuse all the time.  Your dog being out in the heat like this really is abuse so I’m just worried about him.  He has such a thick coat, imagine how hot he must be!”  I think the guy might have mumbled something else but he turned and walked back in the garage with the dog.

Sure enough, as we came back from the walk, the garage door was completely shut, without even the crack that is usually left.  Was the dog at least inside?  Did I make an impression on the guy?  Or did he further punish the dog and leave him crated, this time without even the garage door cracked for a tiny bit of fresh air?  To say the least, I’m upset.

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Readers, friends, fellow animal lovers: what would you do?!?  Do I call Animal Control?  Maybe write a letter and leave it in the mailbox?  Mind my own business?  I’d rather not have a neighbor that hates me…but then again if making him angry means the difference between this poor dog living in hell or changing his mind and helping the dog actually have an ounce of quality of life, well, I think you guys know which way I lean.  So again, what do you think I should do?  I’m desperate for some advice, guidance, and opinions!

28 thoughts on “What’s a Girl To Do?

  1. Hi! I’m new here. Stumbled across your blog after the pitt bull/reporter attack saga (I wrote to her by the way). I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t mind my own business. Is there any way that you can call Animal Control and report it anonymously? I mean the guy might think that you called but he wouldn’t have proof that way (if you’re worried about him knowing it was you). The main issue is making sure the dog is taken care of and not being abused or neglected. Caging him in a closed garage is not right especially with the heat. I think if you called Animal Control they would at least try to investigate and could probably offer him other solutions (if the dog is destructive when he is alone, crate him inside the house; make sure he has circulating air- a fan maybe and plenty of water). Dogs don’t have sweat glands and can’t expell body heat the way we can. I think this guy was so angry because he knew what he was doing was wrong and he was caught. Keep us posted please. 🙂

    • Thanks for writing to the news station, too! I have a feeling together we all bad a good bit of noise over that issue. And yes, I am with you on not being able to mind my own business. I will certainly keep everyone posted! (Fingers crossed for some sort of positive outcome)

  2. I would leave him a note and see if that helps once he has calmed down. If nothing changes, call animal control. That sucks that you have a neighbor like that.

    • It’s especially frustrating because it’s something you might expect to see in a bad neighborhood, with uneducated people (not that that makes it okay, just saying) but we live in a nice middle to almost upper-middle class neighborhood! There is just no excuse!

  3. What is animal control like in your area? Will they take action to protect the dog? If so, I’d definitely report him. Heck, report him anyway and get it on file. That poor dog. If it went into submission like that, the guy obviously beats on it. And what about the other dogs? Who knows. This guy might be training bait dogs for dog fighting. I’m sure animal control would take an anonymous submittal if you’re worried about that but any way you look at it, if animal control visits, the guy will know it’s you. I feel horrible for the dog. It could die from heat exhaustion. 😦

    • I just moved here so I have no idea what Animal Control is like, but I agree, I need to at the very least get this on file. I’m very afraid the dog will die a miserable death from heat exhaustion!

  4. Call animal control before the poor dog overheats. Are you sure it’s not a climate controlled garage? We were upset when we found out a relative’s dog was banned to the garage of a home he was staying at in a cold area over winter break. Her breed is built for winter but we made him confirm that the garage was heated. I know our dogs would have been miserable in that situation and I would have found somewhere else to stay as a result. If that garage is not air conditioned it’s a very dangerous situation.

    • Absolutely agreed that it’s dangerous. I’m assuming that the garage isn’t air conditioned since it is usually left cracked. I’m calling them today!

  5. Hmmmm…is there a local chapter of the ASPCA you can contact and ask, realistically, what the situation is in your area? They might have better ideas than we do, be able to tell you what your options are. Of course, calling Animal Control to ask about their policies is a good option too. Get some more info before you make a decision about what to do.

    If you need help dognapping the dogs, I’m your grrl. I could use a beach weekend in Jax. Just kidding, just kidding, no criminal intent here.

    • Calling Animal Control now to see what they have to say. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve considered dognapping and I can’t think of a better partner in crime than you! I suppose I could settle for just a trip to the beach though if I can help this dog out soon. You know that you, Nathaniel, and your girls are welcome here anytime! It would make me so happy!!!

  6. Good for you for standing up to that guy! Poor dog. I’d be tempted to call animal control or the spca if I was you. Maybe there is a lot more going on behind closed doors too with other dogs. Reminds me of too many episodes of animal cops!

    • Yes, I have definitely decided that sitting by and doing nothing is completely wrong of me so I am calling Animal Control now. Totally agreed about Animal Cops! (gag!)

  7. First, way to go stepping up and saying something to the guy, he doesn’t sound like a super nice guy from your interaction. My worry is about the dog, not how he would feel about you (I know easier said than done).

    Second, I’d find out what sort of SPCA or Animal Control is in the area and talk to them and report the guy. Basically do what you can to save the dog!

  8. So I agree with the folks who have commented — do you know how your animal control works these kinds of situations? Where I live in GA, if you call animal control you have a small chance that they will actually send someone out. If there is an SPCA in your area that is even better. Good luck! That makes my blood boil. Why do they have a dog if they treat it that way.

  9. I started thinking maybe you just go knock on his door tonight and hope to be able to sit down with him. Let him cool down, and you, after what he surely considers a confrontation about something that isn’t your business. Little does he know that you will make it your business now. As cruelty and abuse is everyone’s business!!! If he won’t listen to reason, then write him a heartfelt letter and actually mail it to him. If this gets you no where then definitely go to the authorities.

  10. Okay, I just took the time to read all of the other comments and clearly I am wrong in my advice to let him cool down. Of course, in this Florida heat every minute counts especially considering that now the garage door is completely shut. Please up date me.

  11. I would contact animal control on this guy. It takes people like us to do the right thing and when we see something “off” we should act on it. That dog or dogs, cannot help themselves. They need us to speak for them. Animal cruelty in any form needs to stop. Just saying…if it was me, I would make the call to animal control. Don’t ever think that “it’s not your business”, because on your next drive by this guys house, the dog could be dead.

    • I couldn’t agree more! I have actually already called them and am now just waiting to hear from the officers when they go to investigate. I’m ashamed of myself for waiting this long!

      • Don’t be ashamed at all. You could have just saved the dogs life. People have asked me if I would break a window if I saw a dog in a car on a hot day suffering and I said “yes”. It would be worth any penalty that I would suffer to be able to save the dog. They can die in a car so quickly on a hot day. Be safe, rather than sorry. I can’t wait to hear the update on this from you!

  12. Report him. At the very least it will get checked out. Whether the dog is in there or not at least animal control will go have a look around. It will give them a chance to see what kind of condition his other dogs are in.
    For all we know now the dog could be in there with the door shut.

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