Whole Dog Journal's Blog August 9, 2017

Different Strokes

Posted at 04:28PM - Comments: (48)

I’m slowly making friends with my neighbors over my back fence. They moved into that house about seven years ago . . .† but we got off to a bad start. They had two dogs, which they kept in the backyard 24/7. The dogs had a wooden dog house to sleep in, with absolutely no bedding whatsoever. When the people weren’t home, the dogs barked and barked and barked.

Worse: One of the dogs was a really old Rottweiler who had the funkiest-looking tumors literally hanging off her body. One of the tumors was about the size of an orange – and looked like an orange that someone stuffed into a stocking. It swung from side to side when she walked and, later, dragged on the ground. We had one conversation about the dogs over the back fence shortly after they moved in, but when I asked about the tumors, the people got kind of chilly and simply said that the dog had been seen by a vet and she was fine.

Not long after that conversation, the Rottie disappeared; I assume she had passed away or was euthanized. Things were much quieter – for about a month. Then they got a new, young dog, and the barking went right through the roof again. Every time I’m in my back yard and go near the fence, “Bark! Bark! Bark!”

For a while, I tried making friends with the dogs. When I was in my backyard, I’d toss treats over the fence to them. It sort of worked; it got to the point that when they were super barky, I could go out and say, “Hey guys! Shush now!” and they would settle down.

Then the neighbors started landscaping their yard and they erected a fence to keep the dogs out of the larger part of the back yard – on the far side of their yard. There is no way I can toss treats to the dogs anymore, and their association with my voice and treats has faded. On the other hand, they are getting older and not barking quite as much.

Recently, the neighbors asked me if I could feed and check on the dogs for a day; they were going out of town overnight. I said I’d be happy to.

They said the food was in a garbage can on the back porch, and it was – with no top on it, and in full sun. What? How could it not be rancid and full of flies and ants? Yikes!

They said the bowls would be in the pen, and they were – so filthy with crusted old spit and dirt, it was shocking to me. And it looked like no one had picked up any of the dogs’ poop for months. Old dried up poop was literally everywhere.

Given the dusty condition of the dogs’ section of the yard, and the lack of bedding in the dog house, it’s understandable that the dogs themselves are filthy and smelly. Which is probably why they are never welcomed into the house or the nice part of the yard; likely, no one wants to pet them.

And yet, the neighbors also asked if I would please put some giant cubes of ice in the dogs’ water bowl. They filled the bottom half of a two-liter soda bottle with water and froze it daily so they could put ice in the dogs’ water. So, there is some care and affection going on...

Otto and Woody at my office.

I’ve never understood this type of dog-keeping, and I likely never will. I don’t know why people would even have a dog if he or she is not allowed into their home and on their sofa. And yet, some of my friends think I’m a monster because I don’t allow my dogs to sleep on my bed with me, or feed a home-prepared diet. My friends on that end of the dog-owning spectrum would likely call the police over my neighbor’s dogs – and yet, the dogs do have food, water, shade, and shelter.

I have no point to make; I’m just puzzled. And sadder than ever for those dogs.†

Comments (48)

I agree with most everyone's comments, I would kill to protect a dog or cat from abuse, which of course, would put me in prison, but I was just thinking, what about the cows and chickens and farm animals that suffer abuse so that we can slaughter and eat them...............let's not forget them in our prayers for cruelty free treatment of animals including the ones we eat

Posted by: andergirl | August 18, 2017 10:07 PM    Report this comment

Wickedness. How can you not care for your dogs

Posted by: chrisdame | August 16, 2017 2:33 PM    Report this comment

It used to be standard for the dog/dogs to live outside. People used to be horrified by the thought of dogs being in the house.
If people have grown up where this is the prevalent way that dogs are kept they will not think that there is anything wrong with it.
I cannot say why your neighbours have the dogs -- but they don't seem to be in an abusive home -- just not a good one. Certainly NOT companion dogs
-- maybe they think that the dogs will deter robbers and home invaders?

Posted by: Jenny H | August 14, 2017 1:15 AM    Report this comment

I HAD a friend of 30 years. She developed melanoma really bad and decided to go on a vacation to Hawaii with her family before starting chemo. They would be gone for three weeks. She asked me to watch her pets for her with strict instructions not to let the cat or dog in the house. So in a nutshell, it rained half the time they were gone and I had to deal with a soaking wet cat and a soaking wet dog for days. They had no shelter at all. I cried Everytime I went over there. Plus this fish tank was so dirty you could barely see the fish and the turtle tank was a mess. I never told her til we got in an argument about seven years ago. Then I decided to tell her just what a horrible person she is by telling her what happened during those three weeks. She cursed at me. I've never spoken to her since. I figured that if she treated her pets that way, how does she treat people? I overlooked a lot of things just to keep a friendship all those years.

Posted by: Jane Evans | August 13, 2017 2:05 PM    Report this comment

Just an FYI on the "tumors" - obviously no knowledge re the case cited here - but I have had old dogs with fatty lipoma tumors (per vet physical exam). Unless they are interfering with the dog's physical ability/comfort in some way, I choose not to treat them. Why put an old dog through anesthesia and recovery if unnecessary?

Posted by: WDJ50 | August 13, 2017 1:49 PM    Report this comment

I have a neighbor who took a cat from another neighbor who was moving and didn't want the cat. This cat crossed a busy Parkway everyday (several times a day) to come down and lay on my neighbors deck in the sun. I have no idea why this family took this cat in. They leave him out 24/7. We live in Minnesota, so weather conditions can be extreme. They do keep him in the basement in the winter, but if he gets out they just leave and go to work. The first time they asked me to watch him while they went on vacation for a week I agreed. They left me cat food, so I would go over and feed him everyday not realizing he had no shelter from the elements. So, I went and bought a cat sized crate and put some nice cozy blankets in there for him. Luckily, it was just in time because we got a thunderstorm that night. So, the next time they were going out of town and asked me to feed him, I said only if I can put him in your basement at night or if the weather is inclement. They grudgingly agreed. The next time they left town, the wife came over and told my husband that another neighbor would be feeding the cat because your wife seems to be too concerned about him. Well, the next time they left town, obviously the other neighbor didn't want the job, so they asked me again. The point of this sad story is, this nice orange Tom Cat is declawed, has no way to protect himself and is just left to fend for himself. They also have a 10 year old kid who I saw swinginging the cat by his collar in front of the dog. Yes, they adopted a dog, but he gets to stay inside. I approached the Dad and told him what I saw, but he said his son would never do that. I saw the kid do it again, so I told the kid if I ever saw him mistreat this cat again, I would call the police and he would go to jail (thought maybe a scare tactic would work). Haven't seen him do it again, but he still scares the cat, so this cat spend 90 percent of his time at my house. I feed him and he comes in and lets himself into a spare bedroom and sleeps all day. If my husband wasn't allergic to cats, I would just keep him. But, he kind of lives here anyway. If I see him out in rain or snow, I just call him and he jumps the fence and comes in. I would call animal control, but being he is an older cat (probably 10 yrs.) I'm afraid he would get euthanized. But, he always has a safe place to come to at my house. Even my Jack Russell mix likes him though at first I'm sure he thought he was an oversized squirrel. I realize there are a lot of cats and dogs out there that are treated horrendously, but if I can help out just a little, I will. My heart breaks to see all the abused and abandoned animals sitting in shelters and worse, out in the middle of nowhere, where no one can even help them.

Posted by: NR | August 13, 2017 1:02 PM    Report this comment

This story is so sad but happens all the time. About 4 yrs ago I adopted a 6-wk old JR Terrier/Beagle mix at an Adoption Fair. My husband had died 1 yr earlier and I was a complete mess. Cried all the time, couldn't focus on anything & really let myself go down hill. A friend suggested I get a dog, never had a pet before. Anyway this little puppy, name BabyGirl, literally saved my life. 4-1/2 years later, she is my 4-legged human baby. She means everything to me. Yes she is spoiled but she knows me like a book. She knows if I'm sad, sick, happy, if I cry she licks my tears. I'm elderly/disabled and live alone and she in a way takes care of me. Due to health issues sometimes (not much) I have passed out for a few seconds. She will run to me and start licking my face till my eyes open and stay real close till I get up. She is with me all the time. She goes everywhere I go. If it's a place that doesn't accept pets, then I don't go. She stays in the house with me and follows me everywhere I go even to the bathroom. If I'm using the bathroom she will sit in front of me which is my que she wants me to brush her, kinda funny really. She doesn't let me out of her site and yes she sleeps with me. She knows her side of the bed. We actually face each other. If I turn over and my back is facing her, she will go around the bed so we're facing each other again. I do not underestimate her, she is incredibly smart and learns quickly and she minds good. Back to the original story, I take her walking with my power chair. Everytime we go up the street there is pit bull mix that just runs out barking like crazy, it's on a chain so it can't get out of the yard. It's tan & white & soooo dirty. It stays outside, chained & a doghouse that's way too small. It has a water bowl but eats off the ground. What is the purpose of having a dog if you're not gonna take care of it. They have some, what I call human instincts.... they feel love & affection too & they need it. My little BabyGirl gets lots & lots of love & affection and she minds great. Sometimes when she looks at me, eye to eye contact, I wonder what she's thinking and what would she say. I do have rules that she obeys with no problem. If she starts to do something she's not supposed to, all I have to do is make a low 1 syllable noise and she quits immediately. I have checked into possibly making her a Service Dog but all I have checked requires complete & extensive examinations along with several different vaccinations. I decline. I've read so much about the bad long term side effects of needles & vaccinations that I'm not willing to subject her. The only shot she gets is the one required by law, 3 yr rabies booster. Up until a yr ago I used to give her a Flea/Tick pill once a month. I stopped that too because of side effects. I feed her a well nourished diet along with some supplements as pre-probiotics, Omega 3-6-9 Antarctic wild caught Salmon oil, & every other day sprinkle a little Turmeric powder on her food to prevent yeast overgrowth. I keep her well groomed. The only thing she won't let me do is clip her paws. I have to let the vet do it & surprisingly she remains so calm. The vet always asks if she has a Flea problem & I'm always happy to say "she's never had a Flea since she was born". He says that's great, most dog owners cannot say that. Actually I take better care of her than I do myself. She is definitely my life line. She makes me laugh everyday. I thank God for her. He gave her to me to save my life. I used to do Facebook a lot but quite. There were soooo many posts of dogs being mistreated, it was horrible. I don't & can't understand why people can mistreat dogs so bad !!!!! They can't fend for themselves & can't tell you what's going on. How can humans do this !! I think the humans that do this should be treated the same way !!

On a lighter side, you have to watch the movie "A Dogs Purpose". It is truly amazing. I laughed & cried several times during the movie. It's definitely a "Must See" !!!!

Posted by: Vicky M | August 13, 2017 12:43 PM    Report this comment

why have a dog to just leave it filthy in the back yard? I am sure most cities have barking ordinances. But I cant see why people feed crap dog food, over vaccinated (except that their vets still try to recommend it )
I moved and had to get a house with a larger back yard ... yeah its expensive but i got it for my dogs . They love it . I put a pool up for them on nice days and they play but do NOT live outside! Dont get it . So many people should not have pets

Posted by: Dittoditto | August 13, 2017 11:08 AM    Report this comment

Some interesting comments posted, some hard for me to comprehend. People do have different opinions for the roles dogs play in their lives: a devoted, amusing companion, working partners, stuffed animals (occasional cuddling, not taxidermy!), babies, innocent creatures to dominate and abuse -- the list goes on. I report abuse whenever I see it and even if I hate to see dogs left with no social interaction, chained to a tree, if they have been supplied with food and a constant supply of water, what can be done? But I ask: If all you wanted was a creature that gets an occasional pat, looks good, or you gave into your kids demands -- why? Neglected dogs can become aggressive. They get put down. Dogs are not properly integrated into the family, with no training to be the best pet they can be. They get put down. They didn't live up to expectations. They get put down. Or, hopefully, they are given up to be adopted by a loving family.
If all you're going to do is cuddle the puppy then deem them a nuisance once he is grown -- suppress the urge to get a dog. They are totally dependent on us for everything. Dogs really don't ask for much -- they deserve humane treatment at the very least.

Posted by: LoveGSDs | August 13, 2017 11:02 AM    Report this comment

We treat our own dogs like family members. They live inside. They sleep on our beds. We make their food. We play with them and we love, love, love them.

Those who say they would send in the authorities to situations where the animal has food, water and shelter but is not cared for in what they consider an appropriate way must not be facing what I face every day.

We live in a neighborhood with many 1st generation immigrants. The cultural differences are striking. So many little dogs running free. Sometimes, too often in my opinion, roaming pit bull type dogs wander through.

You might think I live in a very rough neighborhood. Not really. I just live in a place where the demographic is very much another culture. In this culture a dog is property. They believe a dog has a right to roam about and that this is natural for the dog. They rely on their dogs to help protect their property. They don't tolerate open cruelty or abuse, but what they consider abuse is very different from my sensibilities.

Do my neighbors love their dogs? I would have to say yes, but it is in the way they have been raised to treat dogs. When I go to my vet's office I find many who can barely speak English and who don't seem to have much money spending what they have for veterinary care. These same people will likely let their dogs roam free. These same people will also make a scene if they see someone treating a dog in what they consider to be a cruel or abusive way.

Considering the sheer numbers of 'less than perfect' dog situation I see each day, taking these dogs away from people would result in a flood of animals into shelters. The volume would swamp the system and many dogs would likely be put down for lack of available home.

It breaks my heart to see any animal treated with less than perfect care, but I have to pick my fights. If I turn in a neighbor for a minor infraction it will not likely improve the situation because 1. our city has far too many of these minor things going on for the authorities to get involved... 2. if said neighbor found out it was me who turned them in, aside from the things they might do to my property, they also might decide to poison my dogs. That might seem crazy, but remember, if they consider a dog property and I deprive them of their property they then have the right to deprive me of my property.

All I mean to say is be careful. Pick your battles. If you can communicate with your neighbor then work to educate them - but gently. They don't need to be shamed as much as they need to be enlightened. Some need to be helped to become better pet parents. Gifts of dog food, dog bowls, dog houses and vet care can help those who are financially taxed and can go a long way to getting a needy dog some help.

(P.S. - yes, my city has an ordinance that says dogs must be confined or on a leash. The city has apparently given up on this because it is overwhelming the system. The other side of this coin is that when a person is told their free roaming dog must be confined - guess what - they will likely chain up the dog. Since they know nothing about how to best chain up a dog, bad can things happen. - There is no easy solution.)

Posted by: dogs%26c@s | August 13, 2017 11:01 AM    Report this comment

People should stop being so judgmental unless they are willing to take responsibility for the animals. You will create animosity and resentment and never be able to make a difference. And NEVER consider stealing a dog. There are cultural differences on how people relate to animals. I come from a family that was from the old country. I learned that they don't love their animals any less but people keep animals they way they learned from their friends and parents. You can gently suggest changes and hope that they will see benefit in it. But don't expect an epiphany and overnight transformation.

Posted by: suechandvm | August 13, 2017 10:04 AM    Report this comment

Offer to walk the dogs a couple times a week. They need the mental stim and exercise.

Take advantage of the opportunity for disinfecting their bowls and cleaning their yard.

Be the change you wish to see.

Posted by: Bad Dogs | August 13, 2017 6:36 AM    Report this comment

Most of the comments have been about leaving dogs outside. My sister has 2 dogs that she keeps inside but in crates, because they are under her feet all the time, and she doesn't like that. They are under her feet because her apartment is so full of "stuff" that they have nowhere else to be except under her feet. They are in those crates nearly 23 hours a day. One short walk when she gets home from work. I don't understand why she keeps them.

Posted by: Ld5town | August 12, 2017 10:18 AM    Report this comment

I am also guilty. Of stealing a dog that was kept chained in front yard ffor 2 years the neighbor tried the right way, and was told that the dog had water and shelter. The water vol was usually empty. The shelter was a Barbie house. The dog was a boxer. One day. I went there took him off chain and he jumped in the car. We never looked back. The owners never asked about him. Jake had heartwood, his teeth were ground down on from chewing on chain. Same result. Vetting, love and a new home 2 hours away. I cried when he left. Tears of joy. Would I do it again? In a minute.

Posted by: nancy dively | August 12, 2017 9:03 AM    Report this comment

Im not ashamed to say that, I could not and would not watch while those dogs were neglected like that, so the doggie witness protection would come very soon. It just shows you where a person is on the spiritual scale. Those that see animals as no lesser a life form than themselves are evolved and are spiritually advanced. Those that think animals are there to profit from, to use and abuse as they wish, are very low energy souls that have a very long way to advance in the spiritual world. Just because they chose to be in this world with 4 legs instead of two does not make them lesser than. A soul is a soul.

Posted by: gmom | August 11, 2017 5:13 PM    Report this comment

I don't understand it either. I'm in rural Colorado, and often we are the country's coldest spot in the nation. It's not uncommon to see temperatures of -30 degrees in the winter, and people still keep their dogs (and cats) outside. What is that? Lack of empathy? Doesn't it make sense that if it's miserably cold for a human in winter gear, it's going to be miserably cold for an animal? That kind of cold takes a huge toll on the body. It's also common to see dogs on chains, or in yards like you've described, or owners who refuse to neuter animals (especially males because it somehow emasculates them). Dogs ride around unprotected in the back of trucks with no thought as to what happens if that vehicle is involved in an accident. And while some of the dogs are very adept at riding in the backs of trucks, the veterinarians can tell many a tale of the dog (especially those new to the experience) that fell or jumped out of a moving vehicle. The owners fail to take responsibility, as somehow that animal was supposed to know the the rules. The frustrating and sad thing is somehow this thinking is so ingrained that it's seemingly impossible to tactfully hold a conversation with some people that may suggest there's a better way. But we keep trying for the sake of the animals.

Posted by: Charise | August 11, 2017 8:53 AM    Report this comment

Food, water, shade and shelter? Are you kidding me? Dogs are pack animals,they should spend at lest some of their time with the family. Why have a dog if this living, breathing, feeling, thinking soul is going suffer this way? Would you treat a child this way? This is animal abuse! Probably not the worse kind but animal abuse just the same. A medical condition that goes untreated? Unforgivable! BTW, my dogs are welcome on my bed, the dogs and sheets are all washable and replaceable. A dog isn't.

Posted by: Filene | August 10, 2017 11:33 PM    Report this comment

I had a pet neighbor from hell. They had got an 8 wk old chihuahua puppy chained in their unfenced back yard 24 -7. I don't live in the best of neighborhoods and there would be large loose dogs running around periodically and I feared a large dog would attack her. My yard was totally fenced. This poor puppy was miserable cried all the time. These were not people that you could talk to, so I called Animal Control but nothing was done. Several months and prayers later one day when coming home this puppy was loose in the street I managed to catch her and I promised her she wouldn't have to go back. She was so frightened and unsocialized. I called my girlfriend who lived across town and we put her into " the chihuahua witness protection program" she got shots, spayed, chipped and after my friend socialized her so she trusted again she got an awesome home where she is loved and spoiled. And yes that is considered stealing but I would do it again to save a life. Luckly they never got any more animals.

Posted by: Useddogmom | August 10, 2017 9:22 PM    Report this comment

I don't understand why some people are insensitive and indifferent to the health and welfare of dogs and other living things. I'm more confused about why Ms. Kerns didn't report it!

Posted by: DOOGIE | August 10, 2017 7:28 PM    Report this comment

We live in the country. Our neighbor acroos the street has a bautiful german shephard. When he was a puppy he would escape his yard to come to us and play with our dogs. We returned him soooo many times...we offered to take him for awalk with our pack, they said no. This beautiful dog has been outside all of his life. I think (more like hope) that in this crazy heat he gets to go in the house, but I am not sure. He is their guard dog...
The other issue is that people dump their dofs, many of them tiny puppies in the country. Not sure how they think a 5 lb tiny minischnauzer could survive on his own...or a 2 month old little pitbull....anyways, they now live at our house with our pack, which just grew to 10.... i don't understand and never will....

Posted by: Flaquita | August 10, 2017 7:18 PM    Report this comment

When we first moved to Hawaii, a neighbor had several dogs chained around the periphery of the property, far from each other and far from the house. Guard dogs. A new young dog arrived and howled every day for months. The "owner" would bring food to the dog once a day. I watched and he never pet the dog or spent any time with the dog. Eventually the dog stopped howling and became resigned to a lonely life. 20 years later, I heard that neighbor is still doing the same thing. It's heartbreaking. When we got our dogs people thought we were crazy to let them in our house. ?????????????

Posted by: SundogsHawaii | August 10, 2017 4:53 PM    Report this comment

My husband doesn't like animals in the house. My GSD was abandoned and we took him in under the condition that he would be an outside dog. When my old Lab (who was allowed in the house) passed away I got a Lab puppy. My 2 large dogs are well loved. They have 2 fenced acres to roam, orthopedic beds in the garage, daily walks/training sessions (non-punitive training, no choke chains), high quality food (including fresh eggs from my chickens), fresh clean water, heated beds in winter, regular vet and grooming care, kiddie pools in summer. They are loved and well cared for but they live outside. They have a better life than lots of humans do. I must admit I don't miss cleaning up all that dog hair in the house

Posted by: chicken lady | August 10, 2017 4:42 PM    Report this comment

You will get all kinds of different feedback on this issue. I see one already about the fact that you agreed to care for the dogs. I commend you for having the heart and at the same time being able to understand when to back down in certain cases with your neighbor. Not all states have the same laws when it comes to dogs. They are changing and many states are making it illegal to have a dog tied outside for more than an hour at a time. They must have shelter. If you live in extreme weather conditions exceeding I believe it is 98 degrees and then below freezing 32 degrees. The dogs have to be brought into your homes where there is air conditioning or heat depending on the weather. The law also goes as far as stating food and water supply.
These animals are not ornaments or last minute purchases that you can just throw in the corner and forget about them. They are living creatures with hearts and souls that love you back. They want to show their worth and be shown how good they are. Please think before you make the plunge to get your puppy! Is this a smart thing to do? Can I afford to feed it, take it to the doctor, take care of it and love it with all of my heart. Training is not easy you have to be on top of it constantly never giving up on this precious puppy. You have to be committed. Are you?

Posted by: Peanut33 | August 10, 2017 3:18 PM    Report this comment

As an animal shelter director I understand all too well the frustration everyone has expressed. Interestingly enough, however, no one has mentioned the need for political activism on the part of animals in one's community/state. Being vocal and proactive at the local and state government level is one of the few ways to actually make changes that will have a widespread effect; e,g., getting laws such as "food/water'"shelter" expanded and clarified so as to be truly meaningful and humane where animal welfare is concerned. Yes, it takes time, energy and determination to effect these sorts of changes; however, it can be done. If there is an animal defense league (or similar organization) in your area/state, seek their help; if not, don't be afraid to ask to make a presentation to your local city council or other governing body on animal welfare issues that concern you. Even the longest journey begins with a single step.

Posted by: Jazzkats | August 10, 2017 2:20 PM    Report this comment


I wonder WHY you agreed to care for the dogs. Yea, you could see if you could make HEAD WAY on "making friends" & TRYINg to therefore curb the barking (maybe) and you could determine the dogs' actual condition, behind the fence.

You had to KNOW (going in) from the owner's prior track record, things would NOT be good. I know MYSELF, and I cannot (& WILL NOT).... ENABLE irresponsible ownership or a lack of cleanliness and care. In advance, I would not have done it, KNOWING if I found anything inappropriate (like piles of poo, filthy food bowls, possibly rancid food) I would have to report them.

I suspect, I would have taken pictures and called somebody. Eventually, I would have cleaned the yard UP (& the bowls) and found or made a LID for the food, before they returned, so they could at least SEE the way THINGS "OUGHT to BE".

Posted by: Betsy | August 10, 2017 2:15 PM    Report this comment

To the person whose daughters have fostered the neighbors dog for months, they need to find out the laws in their area. Here property is considered abandoned after six months. They may have a claim on that basis. They also have a case for animal cruelty, (vet records for evidence) which would at least get the dog removed and then maybe they could adopt it. I would talk to someone at a local rescue, an attorney, possibly even the county attorney, to establish what their rights are. I am no lawyer, but finding out your legal position seems a logical first step. Good luck.

Posted by: Rattler | August 10, 2017 2:07 PM    Report this comment

My 2 APBTs live in my home, sleep in my bed, & go everywhere it's possible to take them.

I have NEVER understood people that keep dogs as "lawn ornaments". I find treating these wonderful, caring animals in such a way reprehensible. I think it shows a lack of moral character.

Posted by: PitsRUs | August 10, 2017 1:36 PM    Report this comment

Emotional abuse and neglect ARE abuse.,Barking incessantly violates noise laws. I would report the neighbors in a heartbeat. I am dealing with a rescue toy Poodle who was basically left outside in 95 degree heat...shade and water, fed Biljac, screamed at for any oops in the house...spirit broken...and the Breeder of Excellence thinks she provides well for her Poodles. He does not know his name, what papers are for. He had ticks, fleas, coccidia, and teeth are deplorable. He went oversize, and still was used for stud. Basically, she threw him away emotionally when he was of no further use to her, allowed no real connection to her,the other dogs and even a toy. My vet is handling the situation with the AKC...in lieu of punching her out. He will be fine, but a routine adoption turned into full out rescue. Thank God I have subscribed to WDJ since 1997!

Posted by: LTD912 | August 10, 2017 1:12 PM    Report this comment

You can't tell people how to raise their children and you can't tell people what to do with their dogs!
I have had a similar problem with a neighbor, both of whom are lawyers, who have provided a dog house, a water bucket and a bowl for their dogs. That's it!
The dogs have jumped the fence, and one was even hit by a car. So what did the owner do...reinforced the fence...the stupid dog finally learned her lesson..her words.
I called Animal protection, ASPCA, police, anyone who would listen because the living conditions of those poor creatures is horrendous.
What I was told was; 'the dogs have food, water and shelter...they are not tied up and can walk freely.' They are bored, filthy and ill, yet I can do nothing.

Posted by: Rbert135 | August 10, 2017 12:57 PM    Report this comment

Dear Nancy,
I hate to have admit this, but I do at least somewhat understand this mindset because I once had one somewhat similar. Although I never let a dog live in the conditions you describe, I did grow up taking for granted that dogs were supposed to live outside in a doghouse - especially big dogs. What first made me start re-thinking this was reading a book by the monks of New Skete which although it is now recognized to promote outmoded training methods, did ask the question, "is your dog lonely" and did describe how the monks incorporated their dogs into their daily lives as true companions. It was years before I learned enough about dogs to understand how to be a loving and responsible owner and I went on to become a positive dog trainer. Cultural attitudes can be changed through education and I would love to see this start in our elementary schools where trainers could volunteer to help create opportunities for kids to learn about responsible pet ownership.

Posted by: Holly's Den | August 10, 2017 12:14 PM    Report this comment

I have a tough situation due to the neighborhood I live in. My neighbor finally gave away a pitbull puppy because 'it was nipping at one of his daughter's' granted the kids thought play with the dog was teasing & hitting it with a stick.

I tried to tell them to teach No bite before even training a dog to be a guard dog.
Now they have a Bostonwawa and the novelty has worn off, the kids to pay attention to it ..... I feel bad for the dog because it does not have companionship and is outside all the time - the neighbors did not understand pro-active house training and evidently puppy "went" in the house one too many times... now goes in it's crate when in the crate outside (under carport).
Small dog needs to be let out more often for pee breaks. I can tell the dog doesn't want to stay in it's pee or poo. To their credit one of the older kids or the parents clean the cage at least once a day and the dog does get food and water and shade. Just not much room to run even when on a rope in the carport or backyard. There is not abuse going on next door, just hardly any attention. When I was a child a neighbor's Doberman was poisoned in their own yard - not by the owner's - since my dogs play in my fenced backyard and neighbor's can get things over the fence - I will not risk something happening to my dogs. If there was abuse next dog I would make a call but I have to let the neighbor's do what they feel is right - even though it is not how I would care for the dog.

Growing up on a dairy farm we had to know the difference between production/work animals and family animals. There were many dogs and cats dumped on the back roads near are farm and we helped as many as we could. We put food out for the feral cats and rehabilitated the dogs we could (most dropped off had symptoms of being severely abused in one way or another). A few became family pets and that meant living in the house, having an outside run and free time on the farm. Others became farm guard dogs and had a dog house and a long chain for a dog run. If they were good enough they had off leash runs from time to time but most could not because of their lingering "quirks". We changed water bowls frequently and food came from the farmhouse and always fresh kibble and scraps. Hay/straw in the dog houses during cold weather and there was shade where the dog runs were.

Some years ago I had a boyfriend that grew up with a rule "NO animals in the house" I couldn't understand that and knew the relationship would not blossom because my family animals are family and are treated as such - which means taught manners, and allowed to sleep on the beds. I think his family dogs were trained and cared for just 'only people allowed in the house', the dog slept on the porch.

What I do want to find out and put a stop to is the person(s) bringing their dog to the dog park and 1. not picking up poop, but 2. we found round worms crawling in a pile of poop and don't know what dog it came from because it was not in the park when we were. YIKES!!!!

Posted by: farmer's daughter | August 10, 2017 12:05 PM    Report this comment

I'd like to know just exactly what are the rights of people like us who are horrified by the neglect that goes on all the time. My two daughters moved into a house with their two dogs. Shortly thereafter they noticed the neighbor's dog who was always tied up outside. When not tied, he would climb his fence to escape, coming over to join the play of their two dogs. As time went on and rain, cold, and extremely hot weather never saw the dog let in the house, they became more concerned. He would tangle up his tether so badly that he could not reach what little dirty water was in his bucket. Unable to stand it any longer, they approached the neighbor and asked if they could have the dog. They felt so awful every time they went out with theirs at his horrible conditions. The man almost cried and said it was his favorite dog! I'd hate to see how he treated one he loved! So my girls got permission from him to take the dog to the vet, where they found he was heart worm positive, had fleas/ticks, was not neutered and had many other worms as well. They paid to have him wormed, all his shots, including a rabies vaccination. They brought him home and bathed and combed him and decided just to not take him back over to the neighbors. The neighbor has been over to visit twice in 3 months that my girls have "fostered" him. They don't want to call SPCA for fear of repercussions from the neighbor. He says is moving soon and will take the dog with him, even though he can't be bothered to come over to see him! They are heartbroken, as they love him and he has fit into their pack wonderfully. They want to claim him and have him neutered and treated for heartworms. The vet even offered to give them rescue prices for the treatment. Do they have any rights at all without calling the authorities on this family?

Posted by: blacklab | August 10, 2017 12:02 PM    Report this comment

I'm sorry for the dogs, and sorry for you as well. I cannot imagine the pain of having to watch this day after day, and being unable to help.

Posted by: Alice R. | August 10, 2017 11:55 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for that column. You are correct. I rescued golden retrievers for almost 20 years. Dogs can definitely come from worse situations than this if you can believe that. I, too, don't understand why people get dogs and then don't interact with them. They are missing so much not to. Or I get so much by living closely with mine.

Posted by: LovePups | August 10, 2017 11:49 AM    Report this comment

So did you do a make-over to their yard and the dogs? That's what I would have done. I would have shown them what responsible dog ownership looks like and then given them a book about it and then sent pictures of dogs in upscale backyards and houses. People are ignorant. They sometimes can't see what life can look like or even how to achieve it and we expect them to know it already. The average IQ is between 80-100, so sometimes we're dealing with not so intelligent people. This can be frustrating, but you just have to lay it out simple-stupid without being condescending. Get them excited about their possibilities of a better, cleaner more enriched life for them and their pets.
Or alternatively, call animal control. One or the other....whatever leaves you feeling better, you don't need to be a victim either.

Posted by: Christianna | August 10, 2017 11:47 AM    Report this comment

This is very disturbing to read and it IS a form of animal abuse. I'm sure those dogs have not seen a vet and not vetted at all. Those poor dogs may have other health issues not visible. Whether some of us allow our dogs to sleep in our beds (and yes, even my foster dogs) is ones preference but to leave them outside 24/7 and not given the companionship of a person is total neglect. They also need to be exercised. AND, dogs should not be given frozen water or ice cubes, it can cause bloat and kill a dog. I'm sorry, I'm involved in rescue and I would suggest those dogs be rescued! If not rescued, the owners need to be educated. Most states require a dog license and rabies vaccination, perhaps if the neighbor would report those dogs to the owners they would at least have to be taken into a vet for the rabies shot. Many times people that don't register their dogs and get licenses for them and are reported, will be given the choice of surrendering their dogs or paying a fine. They should be reported!!!

Posted by: Cheryl T | August 10, 2017 11:46 AM    Report this comment

Thank you for this insightful story.....I appreciate your approach and your conclusion. My heart so often breaks for doggies I surmise to be unlucky...gives me a new approach. I walk dogs at the local shelter/rescue, and have stopped crying for them now that I realize they pull to get to their kennel after the walk. I can only do this if I convince myself that they do feel at least a desire to get "home."

Save one; someday hope we don't have to.

Brenda Seiple

Posted by: blseiple | August 10, 2017 11:06 AM    Report this comment

As far as I am concerned, this is a form of animal abuse. These dogs should be removed from the house....period. They obviously do not know how to care for a living "being" and have no right to be the guardian for one. I'm tired of people thinking that dogs (or other pets) can be disposable or are only for their convenience or are too expensive. As much as I believe everyone should be able to experience the benefits of a dog's companionship - the benefits are so amazing, I'm sure I don't have to point that out to anyone on this site - this lack of care and attention is just wrong. Ignorance or "this is the way we've always done it" is a poor excuse in today's world. Educate yourself before you take on this responsibility!! Sorry, this makes be so angry and Lenny T. is right, society is too passive about this.

Posted by: CoryAz | August 10, 2017 10:57 AM    Report this comment

Some people have said I'm mean because my dogs go outside only under supervision, spending most of the hottest weather playing inside. Having only clean, well-behaved pets is probably not something these people think is possible or practical. They probably wonder why some have dogs that need to be housebroken or are a risk to guests, furniture and belongings.

Perhaps invite them over and let them see what they are missing.

Posted by: smithdogs | August 10, 2017 10:49 AM    Report this comment

My husband and I had a great dog for nearly 16yrs. Rottie/Mastiff/Sharpae(?spelling) was a rescue dog, I'd literally demanded my dads neighbor to hand the dog over, (or else)! The 3 young boys had barbed wire pieces just out of the length of the dogs cable. The dog was jumping my dads fence, KNOWING his cable wasn't long enough for him to reach the other side. He was starved. He looked like a stick dog, w/a bowling ball head. His skin sunk into every rib/bone. It was horrible! Especially when the owners were severely overweight... Once in my custody - I'd planned on removing the dog, had food/water/leash/new cable/etc... Took the dog. Placed the dog into my Chevy Blazer, w/food & water bowls ready. I poured his water, then his food. He started growling, bc I was too close to the food. I scolded him, & told him that he would not bite the hand that feeds him. He NEVER growled at me again, & he NEVER went hungry again. He wasn't friendly to kids, due to his abuse, I'm sure! So we had to keep him behind cattle wire, & a 6ft privacy fence. Yet, he had a 1/4 of an acre space to run & a portion of a yard barn, as his shelter. That way, he had heat/air as needed. He lived longer than we'd expected, & he probably wanted, God Bless, his soul. You'll never convince me that they don't have a soul. Our few pets, in 26yrs have been very much our soul mates. Each in their own way. You're a good friend to those animals, & to your neighbors. Stay true

Posted by: #1Beck%26Buck | August 10, 2017 10:23 AM    Report this comment

When we moved into our current home, only 2 other families had dogs. One after another each family relented to their children's pleas for a dog. It seemed no one took into consideration the time and work it would take to keep them nor the needs of each specific breed. Needless to say the novelty wore off quickly. There are two confined to their homes 24/7; one tormented by the children (I've seen them hitting it on the head a number of times); another who escapes at least twice a week; all allowed to run through the cul de sac off leash with no adult supervision and (worse) left with the kids who are too busy playing their own games to care. Yet our dogs are seen as the "bad ones" because they are never allowed off leash, any inappropriate behavior is addressed immediately, they wear seats belts in the car, etc. We're considered "rude and unfriendly" because we don't allow anyone to just run up and get into our dogs faces. (One is reactive and scared of sudden moves and loud noises.) We're seen as "crazy" because we have a dog walker when work gets too busy and our vacations are set around our ability to take them with us. Not to mention the looks we received when building a separate potty area in the backyard, putting in a simple agility course for their exercise, or even simple things like checking for ticks and fleas. No amount of education will help people who don't care and I wonder where they even get their dogs. One of ours is adopted and the others came from a breeder. All ran us through checks and follow-ups more thorough than when we got a mortgage.

Posted by: ZoeOB | August 10, 2017 10:21 AM    Report this comment

10 years ago we were looking for a third dog to bring into our pack. We went to our local shelter and discovered Charley. He is a cocker spaniel, was 6 years old at the time and kept outside all his life (in Chicago). His humans had decided he was too much trouble and had stopped feeding and putting water out for him. If it wasn't for the kindness of the neighbor, I don't think Charley would have made it. She called Animal Control and they came and removed him. When we adopted him, he had been at the shelter for 2 weeks, smelled like urine and was a brown color. The first thing we did when we brought him home was bathe him. He turned out to be a beautiful buff color. I remember how tough he was and who could blame him. The look in his eyes when we showed him his bed in our bedroom brought tears to our eyes. He settled down soon thereafter and is now 16 1/2 and is such a wonderful, gentle love bunny. I will never understand why anyone would want a dog if they aren't going to share their lives with these beautiful creatures. I also am amazed of the forgiving natures of dogs who have been neglected or abused.

Posted by: peddler | August 10, 2017 10:20 AM    Report this comment

I'm always so depressed by these stories, and angry. Yes I know different strokes, but when you KNOW better DO better. My husband was raised with "outdoor dogs" that had puppies like crazy. No shots. No spaying or neutering. No brushing. My dad raised me (as his mom raised him) that they ARE your family OR DON'T GET ANY PETS.

When we lived some places animal control doesn't do anything. Now more and more laws are passed. Once we lived next to someone who's dog literally would attack and kill strays. They had a toddler and I was mortified when they left her alone with the dog outside. They bred this dog to sell pups and I always wondered what happened to the puppies and the dog after we moved. Another was a couple who were newlyweds, college educated,mid 20s and vegans (wife insisted. He would sneak meat LOL). Anyway, they left their dog outside all the time without a dog house or shelter AT
ALL. Not even a tree. She barked all the time. Our city didn't have a bark law, but no animals outside in severe weather without appropriate shelter. My husband knew the guy well enough and apparently it sunk in. She got the garage.

But my inlaws have learned. They have rescued and fostered a few dogs now. They have told their neighbor next door when a new state law passed about tying dogs up it can't be more than an hour and never during a freeze in their state. I guess because I knew them I felt more emboldened to say stuff. My FIL's last dog slept with him in bed and shared meals with him. Now they finally stopped feeding cruddy food! So people do change. Granted they're in their 70s, but I'm proud of them.

Typing this while my BichPoo lays on my lap, my tripod is howling about one of the cats we have he hates, and I'm sure my cats are wondering where the next bird they can stare at out the window all day is.

Posted by: Serenity | August 10, 2017 10:14 AM    Report this comment

you people sound to passive for ME.I personally get pissed off when i see something like this,and i have no problem confronting people like this and letting them know just how disgusting type of people they are .Whats worse is how animal control agencies say its OK .

Posted by: Lenny T | August 10, 2017 9:56 AM    Report this comment

Every morning I walk my dog in the hills past a house with a young, friendly, liver colored doberman, alone and longing for a friendly word and a pat. This dog has his ears and tail intact, so I think someone cares. I don't know, maybe they let him in the house at night and it's not as bad as I think. Certainly not as bad as the dogs next to you. I guess that's the way they learned to treat dogs when they were growing up.

Posted by: jd-s | August 10, 2017 9:46 AM    Report this comment

I just don't understand why they'd even have dogs. I've had people say that if they die, they'd like to be reincarnated and come back as one of ours. Fenced large backyard, ramp up to the doggy door into the garage, electric doggy door into the house. 24/7 access to the outdoors. Granted, our backyard itself doesn't have any trees, but each back corner has a tree that overhangs into the yard. I work from home, sometimes sitting on the bed with the laptop and have both of them plus a cat or two next to me. :) Actually, one is snoring between my legs under a light blanket right now. The other one is next to one of my legs on top of the blanket. Our big fluffy 1 year old tortie is laying on her back sleeping next to the dog.

I just don't understand the concept of having a dog that isn't allowed in the house or at least provided with a heated area. I'm thinking of farm dogs. My cousin has a big farm with a couple of labs. They are well-treated and have a heated (winter) garage to sleep in at night on dog beds. He's finally realized that if he feeds the cat, she'll still hunt. (I don't get that reasoning some folks have either.. don't feed the cat because it will quit hunting mice.) Our two indoor/outdoor cats kill lots of critters.

Posted by: KimberlyO | August 10, 2017 9:38 AM    Report this comment

It can be upsetting for those who raise their dogs differently to understand why others don't behave the same way. I find these stories incredibly depressing personally. I find it helpful to remember that there is an entire world out there who care about their dogs, but treat them one way simply because it is all they've ever known. There is a a terrific nonprofit in North Carolina called Beyond Fences that does the important work of caring for these dogs, and explains this far better than I do. It's worth reviewing their FAQ's, if nothing else.

Posted by: lrm100 | August 10, 2017 9:33 AM    Report this comment

Finally someone who posted what I think all the time. I too never understand the mentality of people who want a dog/s and tie them up, to a tree, pen them up in a little space, put a small plastic igloo for shelter. Itís usually as far as far can be away from the house. Sometimes right out in the middle of the yard with no shelter or shade. Dogs being such dependent, loving, pack animals. Sitting up away from house, watching their pack people from afar. With no interaction with humans they devolp bad manners, barking, jumping, digging and finally aggression. Not to mention the ill health from the outdoor conditions be it rain, snow, sleet, freezing temperatures, muggy, hot heat of summer. Flies, Ticks, Gnats, Ammonia from urine, Worms from the feces. It boggles the mind. It makes me very sad.

Posted by: hoofpick | August 10, 2017 8:54 AM    Report this comment

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