If You See Animal Neglect, What Should You Do?

Photo by Nick Davieaux, the dog is left outside all day on a short leash with no shelter. If you can't take care of a dog properly - don't get one.

Social media it seems, can be a dog’s best friend in time of need. An alleged case of animal neglect was posted yesterday on Facebook about a sad little puppy tied up in the backyard day and night with no shelter or food and water caught the attention of many animal lovers and the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society.

Nick Davieaux was fed up with what he was seeing for the last several months since a neighbour got a new dog.  Ever since he started to notice that the dog was just left outside, no interaction, no shelter and just two light weight plastic bowls with nothing in them.

Photo from Nick Davieaux - these food bowls might be good for your morning cereal, but they are not good for food and water for your dog outside.
Photo from Nick Davieaux – these food bowls might be good for your morning cereal, but they are not good for food and water for your dog outside.

The puppy, estimated to be about 5 months old would spend his day and most of the night, tied to a four foot leash in the backyard.  The avid animal lover started meeting the puppy at the gate just to give it some companionship. He also left a blanket and some treats for the pup. There wasn’t much else he could do. “It’s so sad, she looks you in the eyes and you can just see how unhappy she is, almost begging, please take me, play with me, pet me.” Davieaux told SaultOnline.com

Davieaux took to a local facebook group page to vent his frustration and seek advice on what to do. Several posters told him to just take the dog, find a better home for the pooch. That might sound like a reasonable idea considering its owners appeared to forget about the small dog tied up all day. Taking the matter into your own hands though could lead to bigger problems.

Cindy Ross, manager at the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society recommends reporting what you see right away. “Report it! If it is an emergency (i.e., the little dogs in the hot car this summer), call both the police and the Humane Society. If the situation is not an immediate threat to the animal, it should be called in to the Humane Society for intervention and monitoring.” Ross continued, “Our first priority is to determine if the dog is in immediate distress. If so, we work in co-operation with City Police or OPP to alleviate the distress by providing veterinary care and/or temporary custody. The majority of our interventions are resolved through educating the dog owner and monitoring.”

The problem of animal neglect and abuse is very common in Sault Ste. Marie as well as other parts of the Province and the country for that matter. Most neglect cases are not caused by mean people, just ignorant ones. Many people think any animal can deal with inclement weather, no food or water and many believe their animals love being tied up with no interaction. Basically a lawn ornament. If that’s the case, don’t get a dog.

Ross says the shelter receives about 10 calls per month, sometimes more dealing with reports of neglect.  “Minimum requirements are an insulated shelter raised off the ground that protects the dog from precipitation and prevailing winds. Consideration must also be given to the dog’s age, overall health and coat type. They also must be provided with fresh water, food and a sanitary environment.” Ross said. “As per the City by-law, the tether must be at least ten feet long and also prevent the dog from trespassing on neighbouring property and/or public property.”

That wasn’t the case with the puppy Davieaux and his wife have been witnessing. “During the summer, when she was younger, they left her out all night. I would go to bed hearing her crying and whimpering, and wake up in the morning for work, hearing the same thing. Was torture. Then when we brought the blanket for her and food and treats, they must’ve realized someone was watching because they started to bring her in at night.” Davieaux said.

Because animals are deemed property in Ontario, it is illegal to take the dog that you think is in distress – though it is very tempting. Davieaux did the right thing and contacted the Humane Society and the Regional SPCA office in Sudbury. The Humane Society tells SaultOnline.com that they are investigating on this case.

The post on facebook meanwhile has been removed by the administrator of the page. The owner of the animal in question who was under heavy criticism  allegedly posted that her dog “loves to be outside”  Ross stresses however that proper shelter and food and water must be made available or the Humane Society can lay charges and or remove the animal from the property in some cases.






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