Advocates angered about dog crying left out in freezing cold

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In Westfield, Massachusetts, area residents have been very concerned about a tethered dog left out in the freezing temperatures. The long-haired Belgian shepherd, reported to be eight-and-a-half-years old and weighing 70 pounds, according to one neighbor who stated all the dog had was a bucket of water, had been heard whimpering and crying. Revised tethering laws limit the time dogs can be chained to five hours, but authorities cited there are exceptions to the legislation  which became effective as of November 2016.western-mass-news-photo-2

Stephen Burrell’s Facebook page has garnered over 1,300 shares after a photo was posted of the tethered dog with the following description:

 “This beautiful German Shepherd is quite literally left chained OUTSIDE in this 10, 15°F freezing weather 24 hours a day. This morning wm he was uncontrollable shivering and the owners of 105/107 Miller Street, Westfield, MA would not answer their door no matter how hard I knock. Rather they just peek behind the curtain look at me and then quickly close the curtain again. They would not answer me when I called out to them to open the door. I’ve reported it to the MSPCA here at Westfield. They simply told me we’ll swing by and take a look.”

Burrell walks his own dog along side of a public path and has continued to watch the dog at all hours of the day and night while the dog is left outside on a concrete pad in front of a shed. Another resident went to check the situation out for herself, and although she did admit she had trespassed on private property to get to the dog, she stayed with the dog for hours describing the thick chain irritating the dog’s neck.

When Westfield Police Captain Michael McCabe was notified, he stated an ambiguity in the tethering law could be interpreted as doing “what’s reasonable.”  In this case, McCabe said the dog appeared to be healthy and its breed is used to freezing weather. McCabe said the dog’s owner has been out of town, and animal control has addressed the situation. As of Friday evening, the dog had been removed from his chain and taken inside with police saying the dog had been “living better than most people.”

On Saturday morning, the Westfield Regional Animal Shelter posted the following update on their Facebook page:


The dog has been relocated! ******MILLER STREET UPDATE*******. We have received dozens of calls & e-mails about the dog living outdoors on Miller St. Westfield Police Dept. and Animal Control have been out there to check on the well being of the dog. We understand your frustrations on this situation and are working with the owner to resolve it. For those of you that would like to read about the new laws, on chaining and tethering, please go to: Chapter 140 Section 174E.”

According to updates on social media, the owner is a truck driver and is scheduled to return home on Wednesday. The owner has been cited for a lack of vaccinations and licensing, although that information has not yet been verified. Meanwhile the dog is reportedly locked up in the shed and advocates still worry the dog will not be able to maintain a healthy body temperature. Updates will follow.

Be the voice for those who cannot speak.

(Photos screenshot of freezing dog via Western Mass News and Stephen C. Burrell)







82 replies
      • jacks says:

        Actually, Billy Bob, it’s “you WOULD get a D in my class”. Because, unless you actually teach an English class and Cheryl Gallo is a student, your sentence was grammatically incorrect. You see, Billy, you’d want to use the second conditional since you’re speaking about a hypothetical situation.

        Glad I could help you.

  1. Linda Szymoniak says:

    It’s not only being chained out in the cold, but that this poor dog isn’t getting the socialization he deserves – and needs. Thick fur isn’t enough against severe weather, and if this dog had water, it would have been frozen. What about food? The owner was on the road, so unless he had someone else taking care of him, the dog wasn’t being fed. My three dogs sleep on my bed with me (they aren’t small, either). They go outside to potty – and nothing more in extreme weather. They are part of the family – not living lawn ornaments. This type of neglect is as bad as the horrible abuse so many dogs are having to endure lately. I just hope things turn out good for this one.

    • Nadya Wall-Rossi says:

      You put it so eloquently. I couldn’t have expressed my feelings any better. That owner is, to say the least, an unfit and abusive parent. The Police Chief is a cowardly, lazy POS. Can any other agency rescue this poor dog from certain death?

  2. Patricia Bennett says:

    If you’re going to own a dog then you’re doing what you do for your own family you take care of it you take it to the doctor you give it vaccinations you give it food you take care of it as if it was your own child if you can’t do this then you don’t deserve to own a dog especially if you’re a truck driver know breed to a certain extent is made to be out in freezing weather.

  3. Patricia Bennett says:

    Sorry for the typo no breed should be left out in freezing Temps
    They get cold like us and frostbite. This owner is a loser and the dog deserves better.

  4. Linda Webb-Stephens says:

    This is animal abuse and this owner needs to never own another. Charge the owner with all that can be charged…


    someone should have taken the dog before all the attention to him. but now that its on the internet it makes it hard to save him. if he is chained all times you know the owner doesn’t care for him, just doesn’t want anyone to have him. and the police and AC are just waiting for someone to steal the dog so they can arrest someone and make rescuers look bad.

  6. Denise says:

    I don’t care who you are that is abuse, neglect no matter how you look at it & it’s bullshit that nothing will happen to the asshole owner That dog does not deserve any of it!! He deserve’s better!!!!! I saw a posting saying “If you won’t go outside because you think it’s too cold, you shouldn’t put your pets outside because it’s too cold for them also”

      • ellen cottone says:

        Wire the shed. (To code).
        or use a long extension.
        or move the shed.
        relocate it to the inside of the living room.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Yet you hang on every word. following me everywhere, commenting after every comment i make.
        like im one of you favorite obsessions. it must kill you that i never engage with you. i cant be baited or goated by the dislikes of you.
        will you be changing your name to helen some time soon.since it will be less enbarassing siince all the passed linda replies make you seem so low class.and shows no self controll?
        Common Bully.

      • linda says:

        BAHAAAAAAAA! Helen is my sister. As I recall you won’t leave me alone. But that’s ok. I get you’re brain damaged. IMAO. Bub Bye.

      • ellen cottone says:

        i think your confused. i dont understand the well dressed man referance. and the damm yankee wasnt for you it was ment to show my feelings tward the massachusetts dog owner. why would you think it would be ment for you?
        Its so out of context . im beginning to wonder if you think my comments were ment for you. they are not.
        Damm yankee is lifted from gone with the that referance it ment a rotten person from up north on the east coast.
        a yankee means one thing only. its a historical referance.
        since the revolutianary times a man from boston (massachusetts like the owner )was slanged a yank or yankee . And that was a dig refering to boston baked beans. Yankee bean.But to call some one a yankee bean looses alot of sting. Damm Yankee on the other hand…..
        They know who ye talkin bout.

      • ellen cottone says:

        Sorry linda,
        and now your making me laugh.
        your mistaken.

        Another colorful slang term for penis.
        As in Dink, Dinky, Dingus,

        Maybe you mean a dandy?
        is a well dressed man.

        ya dink,ya!
        But in my usage i ment small and insignificant.
        sorry for the confusion.

      • ellen cottone says:

        ahhh linda.
        now im being a colossal dingus.
        sorry for the wise ass part of the previous reply. acally iv been using dink for years i actually thought it was a good natured jibe. I got it from an old simpsons episode’
        One kid flys right thru the back yard in a hot air ballon and says
        im going to estanbul
        the other kid shouts out,
        Tureky is in the east
        ya dink.
        i thought it was harmless. its a good thing nobody around me knew the definition and i sometimes got a chuckle

      • ellen cottone says:

        pssssstttt linda, laughing my ass off at this pop in today, especially the dingus debate. i almost needed cpr i laughed so hard. ahh, when wes was kidds. but wait did we forget to rescue the dog. he still looks like hes waiting for us to come get him. and that part is not funny. he is cold and skinny. now im not laughing.

      • linda says:

        So do I. I called the Westfield Shelter when this article came out and all they would tell me was the dog was”doing fine”. Keep warm it’s getting cold out there and have a good weekend.

  7. Cristen McConville says:

    OMG ~ What the hell is wrong with the police????? Yes ~ a dog generally can with stand cold temperatures for a little longer than humans, but they get hypothermia & DIE from cold temperatures also!!!!! In a shed now???? STILL NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!

  8. Tracy Jones says:

    A dog freezing to death at the end of a chain or in an unheated shed cannot be deemed “reasonable” by any stretch of the imagination.

  9. Karen says:

    Please someone help that poor dog..locked in the shed ?? WHF get him out of there before he’s found frozen to death!!!!!!..This is animal abuse!!! His life matters , What the hell is wrong with people, that fkn trucker doesn’t deserve to have any animal…he should be charged with animal cruelty..this is sooo wrong why doesn’t someone do something about this NOW

  10. Michele says:

    Please update us as to where this animal is!!! Someone near there go please and tell me if this dog is there or not?! Pkease

  11. Deanna Dewoody says:

    Really the laws WOW!!! How sad that this is being allowed at all really!! so now everyone knows and yet they can sleep at night in there warm beds as for the animal control what are you doing working for animal control if you don’t have a heart for these animals you would be doing something for this dog and how are you sleeping at night knowing there’s a dog outside freezing to death shame on you .

  12. Becky Harris says:

    Billy Glenn Willett: why are you on here? It’s obvious you are not an advocate for animal welfare. Find another site to bash!
    Please update us on this dog. Something is wrong here. No one locally is willing to step up? C’mon!

  13. geertmans2015 says:

    So the truck driver can’t afford a dog house with hay? I bet he is warm and cozy for sure. That dog deserves a better home than that. Just think 24/7 in the freezing cold, snow and wind. Their paws and ear tips can freeze and they can die of the cold. At least wild animals can find some shelter from the elements. A tethered animal can’ t.. Big difference. And the police seem not to not have much empathy for animals
    . Too bad. Or it just may be stupidity. Neither is acceptable.

  14. Jeffrey J. Vrtis says:

    If the owner is a truck driver, why doesn’t he just take the dog on the road with him, I’ve heard and seen many do it, . That would be alot better than someone at home purposely NOT feeding, caring or protecting it, and worse abusing it with a chain, cold weather and no protection, some people are so IGNORANT, they should be EUTHANIZED…

  15. Angela Corso says:

    So let’s take a dog that is completely miserable and make it worse by putting him in a shed that most likely has no windows. The post from the police department states the dog has been removed, but yet there is another post that the dog is in a shed. Which is it?

  16. Marisol says:

    Anger doesn’t help the dog only intervention and making sure the police interpret the law correctly. A shed is not enough for a living being to get protection from the harsh weather.

    • Gloria says:

      No it doesn’t. But can you blame people for being angry at this abuse of a beautiful dog? Why even have a dog if you’re keeping outdoors 24/7 is my concern. There is a rescue that literally goes out and saves these dogs. I wish I could remember the name.

  17. ellen cottone says:

    Hi Gloria!
    I know the rescue your talking about because im an East Coast Girl and baby it cold out here.
    Its called…
    “Any rescue, will”

  18. Emma williams says:

    I pray this dog is now being taken care of properly. If your a truck driver and own a dog or any animal you have to be sure the animals are being well cared for while you’re on the road if you can’t do that you should not own any animals.


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