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.
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.
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.
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.
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!