The 2017/2018 winter season has been one of the coldest on record in most states across the nation. Not only are the frigid temperatures making headlines, but more tragically, the deaths of dogs left outdoors in these freezing temperatures.
According to an article in the Washington Post police in Hartford, Connecticut charged a woman with animal cruelty when a dog was found frozen solid, chained to a small shelter outside the home, on New Year’s Day. Several other deaths occurred in Ohio. In Toledo, a dog was found frozen to death on a front porch. Three other dogs were found frozen in Franklin County, Ohio, and authorities in Butler County, north of Cincinnati, charged the owners of another dog who also froze to death with cruelty to a companion animal.
Why does this keep happening? With all the warnings out there advising of the dangers of leaving dogs outside in frigid temperatures, and ordinances and laws in place in every state, why is there still a high death toll every season?
Is it because the laws on the books are not being enforced by those in authority to enforce them? Is it because those in authority are not taking a proactive stance for the welfare of the animal? Instead of just giving a warning citation, should they not just seize the dog immediately and take it to a safe haven? Are calls and complaints from citizens concerned for the welfare of the dogs going unheeded?
A citizen in Galloway Township, New Jersey has been fighting for two dogs that live on Dahlia Avenue. The dogs have been left outside 24/7 for the past four years. She has reported these dogs to the Atlantic County SPCA and the Galloway Police seven times -just in January of 2018. On January 6th during a deep freeze and thirteen inches of snow, the dogs were still outside in their dog houses. The owner told the police that the dogs were outside dogs, have never been inside and would remain outside. The police officers told the complainant that it was okay for the dogs to be out there, and they appeared to look well taken care of although it was four degrees outside and the officers had to walk across sheets of ice to get to the dog houses.
Ironically, the owner of these two dogs was in direct violation of the Galloway Township ordinance specifically stating that dogs cannot be tethered outdoors longer than nine hours in a 24-hour period. Also, his dogs are not licensed nor are they vaccinated. After the Good Samaritan placed multiple calls regarding the deplorable conditions the dogs were living in, the owner placed a piece of plywood in front of his fence to block anyone from seeing the dogs from the road.
To further affirm his lack of caring or compassion for his dogs, he has refused all donations of blankets to keep his dogs warm in the below freezing temperatures. A Good Samaritan took a bag of blankets and quilts with a note attached saying “for your dogs.” All the blankets and quilts were thrown in the trash as soon as they were received. This man is of the mindset that he would rather walk further to the curb to dispose of the blankets than give any comfort to his dogs. And the Good Samaritan was told by the police she would be charged with harassment if she didn’t stay away from the property.
Whose side is the justice system on? When speaking to Nancy Beall of the Atlantic County SPCA and asking her what they are doing regarding these two dogs, she advised their cruelty investigator is actively investigating the case as well as the lack of licensing and shots. According to Nancy, and in her own words; she thinks no dog should be left outdoors and it is “absolutely disgusting” when people leave their dogs outside in the frigid, inclement weather. Hopefully these two dogs will soon be removed from the resident on Dahlia and he will not be allowed to have or own any other animals in the future.
When the author of this article contacted Galloway Township Mayor and Animal Control Office regarding their lack of enforcement for their own ordinances, they did not respond.