Tag Archives: animal cruelty

The Emotional Distress to Humans Who are Forced to Watch a Dog Chained in the Cold

Gideon was rescued last winter by an Ohio humane society, and transferred to DDB
Gideon was rescued last winter by an Ohio humane society, and transferred to DDB

A cold spell is sweeping the nation, and I watch sadly as people frantically beg online and to authorities for help for chained dogs left out in frigid temperatures near them; knowing that for most help will not come.

Will these dogs die this time, this winter, today?

Would a more appropriate question be not WILL THEY die but HOW MANY will die this time, this winter, today?

And when these precious and helpless creatures DO die, frozen to the ground on their chains, neighbors who have watched the dog suffer (but were too afraid to take matters into their own hands) will bear the guilt of the dog’s death in addition to their own feelings of helplessness and hopelessness and anger at a system that’s let them down and the dog down.

The choices for a caring neighbor forced to watch a dog try and fail to survive in sub-freezing temperatures will become 1. take the dog, aka PROPERTY OF ANOTHER, into their warm homes or the vet’s office and risk being arrested for it, OR 2. to protect themselves and stand by and watch the dog die at the end of the chain.

Some choice.

The heartless and soulless humans who left these dogs—dogs who depend on them for empathy and kindness—out on that chain in frigid temperatures to die will not suffer a moment’s remorse for their actions. That I can guarantee you.

I become very depressed when a cold spell hits, and I feel immense guilt that I am sleeping all snug in my bed while dogs are dying out there in the freezing temperatures.

I personally feel the weight of each suffering dog on my shoulders and I feel like it’s all my fault that I haven’t succeeded in freeing every chained dog in America during my 12.5 years with Dogs Deserve Better.

This isn’t logical, of course, and I know that there’s no way I could have or should have been expected to personally free millions of dogs on my own. Yet I have a hard time releasing that guilt and just moving forward to the best of my ability.

I wrote a previous blog about how to go about helping chained dogs in the cold from a logistical standpoint, so I won’t go over all that again, but you can read it here: https://ofdogsandchains.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/dog-out-in-the-cold-what-to-do-what-to-do/

Today I want to talk about the emotional distress that caring humans feel when forced to watch a chained dog suffer in the cold.

Let’s face it, there’s something ‘off’ about anyone who puts a dog on a chain and thinks it’s acceptable under the best of conditions. Throughout history, those who oppress others (human and animals alike) have justified their actions and behavior with such ludicrous phrases as “he/she likes it out there. He/she isn’t suffering. He/she is happy.”

This is what we hear daily at Dogs Deserve Better when speaking to caretakers of chained dogs. “He likes it out there. He hates the house.”

Bullshit.

One wonders, are these people truly without emotions, or have they just blocked off emotions with regard to the oppressed in order to continue the abuse which—for whatever reason—is convenient and easier for them?

When it comes to dog chaining, I’m constantly asked by our supporters (with confused expressions) “Why do they have a dog at all if they’re just going to chain him/her outside?”

I think, outside of nefarious reasons for chaining dogs such as dogfighting, most people leave dogs on chains because it’s easier for them than bringing them inside to live.

Perhaps their father did it, and without a strong moral compass that tells them not to blindly follow in their father’s footsteps, they just continue the pattern without a thought to the suffering of the animal.

It’s true that living with dogs is akin to living with children. When you come home from the store, there is no guarantee you won’t see garbage strewn across your kitchen floor, or the chewed-up, missing limb from your coffee table.

You co-exist with dog hair, tell visitors to wear their shoes inside to save yourself embarrassment, and clean up poop/pee/vomit at inconvenient and annoying times and places.

But if you’re going to live with a dog, you must accept these conditions in exchange for the benefits of loving and caring for a fur creature that gives back as much as he/she takes.

Or, you can just take the easy way out and toss the dog out on a chain without a thought as to what the dog deserves.

I go up against people who chain their dogs way too often in court, and they will lie through their teeth in order to ‘get you’. Morals are not their strong suit, which is completely obvious given that they keep their ‘Best Friend’ on a chain in the backyard next to the garbage can.

Police and judges almost always (in my case, always) side with the dog abusers. Whether our society has evolved to a police state, or those in positions of power are just set on maintaining status quo and property rights is something that could be the subject of endless debate.

Whatever the case may be, there’s a good chance that if a caring citizen tries to get help for a chained or penned dog from authorities, they will be sorely disappointed.

If animal control or the police actually DO help you and make the owners take the dog inside tonight, great! Wonderful! Call it a day and go eat some pizza. You’ve done well, and the officer is to be commended.

If not, you are left with one heluva dilemma and one heluva load of emotional distress for which there is no end in sight. It’s disheartening, to put it mildly.

How can you possibly crawl into your bed tonight and know that the dog next door is struggling just to survive the night? That each moment through which you blissfully sleep is just one more moment of torture for a being who has done nothing wrong, has committed no crime, and wants nothing more than to be part of a home and family?

This emotional distress caused to caring neighbors is an extension of the abuse caused to the dog by those who chain, by police and animal control who turn a blind eye, and by judges who uphold owner’s rights to abuse both the animals and caring citizens.

Think about this. Say your home was broken into by armed robbers, and you had to watch as they beat your husband or wife, but you were tied to the chair in the kitchen and you couldn’t physically get up to help. You were helpless to do anything but watch as this beating continued, and someone you love was forced to endure pain beyond their ability to bear. It hurt you almost as much to watch it as it hurt him/her to endure the beatings.

Even IF this happened only once in your lifetime, AND you both survived, odds are quite good you’d be dealing with years of post traumatic stress disorder.

Watching a dog, a creature most of us love and feel an innate urge to protect, go through a similar torture every day on a chain for the 10-12 years of his/her lifespan and feeling helpless to do anything about it creates a similar post traumatic stress in neighbors.

The condition goes completely undiagnosed because the caring human is too embarrassed to even talk about the pain in therapy or with those who aren’t out and out dog lovers.

Most neighbors of chained dogs become depressed from watching the suffering of the dog next door;  this is a completely NORMAL human reaction to being forced to watch abuse.

I’m spoken to hundreds of people over the years who cry when they describe the condition of their neighbor’s dog to me. They can’t sleep, they can’t eat, and are an emotional wreck from witnessing the abuse day in and day out.

Something must change.

'Worthless' (their name for him, not mine) on his chain in 2002
‘Worthless’ (their name for him, not mine) on his chain in 2002

Before I formed Dogs Deserve Better, I helplessly watched Worthless suffer on his chain for six years. I was obsessed with moving—anywhere else—so that I didn’t have to see his sadness and pain every day.

But I knew wherever I ended up there would just be another dog on another chain;  moving wouldn’t solve the problem of what was happening to Worthless and every other unfortunate dog like him stuck out on a chain for life.

I took action after I formed Dogs Deserve Better, and rescued Worthless from his chain.
I took action after I formed Dogs Deserve Better, and rescued Worthless from his chain.

If you too are suffering from the trauma of watching a dog on a chain, I am truly sorry, both for you and the dog. I know this same pain, and my heart is with you in suffering each and every day.

If you have tried every method of getting help for the dog—to include speaking to the caretakers and asking authorities for help— and nothing has worked, only YOU can decide if you will act in the face of possible harassment by authorities to save the life of the dog in this or another sub-zero cold spell this winter.

Want my advice? I say you only live once (that you know of, anyway) and even IF you get in trouble for removing a dog from a chain in sub-freezing temperatures, it would be the best possible reason to go down; you will always be proud of yourself for taking the courageous stand.

I picked this dog up who couldn't stand, took him to the vet, and refused to return him to the owners who left him lay like that for three days. I was charged with theft and receiving stolen property. I didn't care. He was worth it.
I picked this dog up in 2006, took him to the vet, and refused to return him to the owners who left him to die like that. I was charged with theft and receiving stolen property. I didn’t care. He was worth it.

I know, I’ve done it.

In states with Good Samaritan laws as pertaining to animals (the only one that I know of is Ohio, but there may be more…if you know, please enlighten me), the word is if you act to save the life of an animal you won’t be harmed. I’ve never heard of a case using it yet, but I would always get plenty of evidence before acting.

I recommend that IF you are going to act to save the life of a chained dog, PHOTO DOCUMENT, PHOTO DOCUMENT, PHOTO DOCUMENT. Take both photos and video of the distress of the dog and the outdoor temperatures and conditions before removing him/her from the chain, and either taking him/her into your warm home or to the vet, depending on how dire the circumstances are.

If you live in New York state and run into trouble for helping a chained dog in frigid temperatures, Attorney Matt Albert has pledged to represent you FREE. (Regardless, be SURE to take a ton of photos and video, so he has something to work with in court!)

If you live anywhere else and you are faced with a life and death decision with a dog, I pledge to help you raise the money for attorney’s fees if needed when you take the courageous and morally right actions on the dog’s behalf. I will expect you to provide me with photo and/or video evidence of both the temperatures outside and the distress of the dog.

The bottom line is: ensure you get your evidence, and you get GOOD evidence. Evidence makes all the difference; if not in the courtroom, then definitely in the court of public opinion.

In closing, as an ordained interfaith minister, I hold a firm belief that there are man’s laws and there are God’s laws. All too often man’s laws are in direct violation of God’s laws and go against the conscience of a person of strong moral character.

Please. If you live near a chained dog out in the frigid cold, take EVEN ONE BRAVE ACTION today. Gather your courage; go talk to the caretaker.

If he won’t let you take the dog inside and refuses to take the dog inside himself, gather up ten neighbors who agree that enough is enough and go back WITH A PACK OF HUMANS STANDING STRONG AND TOGETHER. There is safety and strength in numbers.

We are stronger together, and we must stand together in order to stop animal abuse.

I’ve found that the best cure for my depression in the winter is to take action on behalf of chained dogs. You’ll find it helps you too.

Thank you for caring about them.

Ezekiel was a dog who was shot in the head and outside a church in the frigid cold. We rescued him just as the shooter was returning to finish the job! Ezekiel got a wonderful home and family because we didn't give up on him.
Ezekiel was a dog who was shot in the head and taking refuge outside a church in the frigid cold. We rescued him just as the shooter was returning to finish the job! Ezekiel got a wonderful home and family because we didn’t give up on him.

P.S. Here’s our volunteer page link where we have lots of free stuff you can print out to hand out in the neighborhood. http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/volunteer.html

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How Pennsylvania Treats Citizens who Speak for the Voiceless

Tamira Thayne holds her protest sign aloft when constables and the Bellwood, PA police come to arrest her. Her signs says "Citizens Have the Right to Speak for the Voiceless."
Tamira Thayne holds her protest sign aloft while facing Bellwood police and PA constables. Her signs reads “Citizens Have the Right to Speak for the Voiceless.”

Over and over in Pennsylvania (and face it, most other states) those who abuse animals are let off the hook (and therefore continue the abusive behavior) while those who have the courage to stand and speak for the voiceless are cited with ludicrous and false charges in order to shut them up.

This poor dog lives this way 24/7. What the hell is wrong with this country that we tolerate this treatment of our 'Best Friends?'
This poor dog lives this way 24/7. What the hell is wrong with this country that we tolerate this treatment of our ‘Best Friends?’

Today I protested once again in front of the Bellwood, PA police station as an act of passive resistance to false charges brought against me for speaking on behalf of the tethered dog shown above in Bellwood on June 30, 2014.

Nothing was done to prevent the continued illegalities involved, and unless things have changed since August, this poor dog is still out there suffering.

While I protested today, I had two local citizens come up and tell me about how this very dog suffered last winter, crying and crying out in the cold, with no straw in his/her doghouse and no visible food or water most of the time. I was told that other people living nearby had made call after call trying to get help for the dog that never came.

The dog's location is moved, but otherwise he/she doesn't look to be faring any better than before.
The dog’s location is moved since public pressure was put on the local authorities, but otherwise he/she doesn’t look to be faring any better than before.

I could cry just thinking about it.

Why, Why, WHY IS THIS ALLOWED TO CONTINUE? WHY ARE THOSE WHO DARE TO SPEAK UP PUNISHED WHILE THOSE WHO ABUSE AND NEGLECT THEIR CHAINED DOGS ARE SUPPORTED BY LOCAL POLICE?

I don’t understand. I will never understand.

Please see previous blogs for the whole story. It was a tough day, and I’m just not sure I can rehash it even further.

I do love me some protesting!
I do love me some protesting!

I protested for about 1/2 hour and the police drove by twice during that time. Finally Joe—my wonderful husband who came with me for moral support—went inside and told them I had two warrants and was awaiting arrest.

A woman who was in there at the time thought he was diming me out, and said “Geez, I guess she picked the wrong place to protest then, huh?” Bwahaha.

About 20 minutes later the officer came out and asked me if I’d be there awhile.

“Um…sure?”

He said he had to have the constables come to arrest me. Apparently these days the police who charge you can’t actually drag you off to the magistrate? I’m sure they’re super busy, after all. Eh-hem.

I told him to bring them on down. Kinda bizarre that I’m making a date with them to come and arrest me, huh?

Well, I do like to be accommodating.

Handcuff marks on my hands. They remind me of the too tight collar on the dog's neck, which hurt him/her every single day, all day long, 365 days a year.
Handcuff marks on my hands. They remind me of the too tight collar on the dog’s neck, which hurts him/her every single day, all day long, 365 days a year.

So about 30 minutes later, two female constables showed up, with pink handcuffs, and put me in their cop-ish car and drove me to the magistrate’s office.

I still have marks on my hands from the handcuffs digging into my hands. I can’t help but think of the dog’s collar on the day I met him/her. It was so tight I couldn’t even get my fingers under it, and if he/she actually gained weight, it could embed. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to live with that every single day. I had to deal with it for only about 20 minutes and I still bear the marks hours later.

I was taken to the magistrate in Tyrone, PA, where I was given two choices: pay the fine immediately, or plead innocent and get a court date.

I wasn’t interested in a court date…what’s the point of going to court with the kind of they said/she said corruption I’m dealing with? Who gives me a single chance of winning?

Yes, I can probably shoot down the bogus trespassing citation with the photos of the dog 1 foot from the road…but arguing? It will be five against one, and no ‘evidence.’

Since I told the woman that I wouldn’t pay the fine, the only choice remaining to me was to plead innocent and get a court date.

So that’s what I did.

After that I was released, and told to come back Monday, November 24, 2014, to go before the magistrate.

Can’t wait! Overall I’d say it was a bit anti-climactic. Stay tuned for more.

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P.S. Note the pink handcuffs! Cute, yet painful.

P.S.S. If you live in the nearby area, and can get an updated photo of this dog, please e-mail it to us at photos@dogsdeservebetter.org. Thank you.

P.S.S.S. To learn more about the case, read my past blogs, and/or visit or donate from our webpage at http://dogsdeservebetter.org/papoliceabusepower.html.

DDB is a nonprofit and we work hard for chained dogs every day of the year. We need and appreciate your financial support for our mission. Thank you.

—Tami

What do ‘John Wick’, Passive Resistance, and Arrest Warrants Have in Common?

A dog of course.

What else?

The ‘John Wick’ movie, out this week starring Keanu Reeves, highlights the extreme dichotomy (aka effed-up-ness) between what one segment of the population believes about dogs and what the other segment knows to be true.

In the movie, John is an ex-hitman whose wife dies of an illness, but gifts him with a beagle puppy after her death so he can ‘have something to love.’

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 2.20.56 PM

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2014/10/21/beagle-john-wick-keanu-reeves/17649691/

Her ploy works, and John quickly, if a tad bit reluctantly, opens his heart to the little dog. Until [I don’t consider this a spoiler because you see it in the preview] some Russian mobster guys break in, kill his puppy, and steal his car.

Then he’s mad—killer mad. He’s mad like we animal rescuers get in our fantasies when abusers torture dogs and walk away scot free. (Which, face it, happens all the time. We must be killer mad a lot…)

Only—because he’s in a movie and an alternate reality from, say, the real world—he gets to grab a bunch of weaponry and start gunning down those who would and should pay for what they did to the puppy.

Nowhere in the movie is the disparity in attitudes toward dogs more apparent than when the Russian Mobfather says “What? It’s just a car. And it’s just a dog.”

John then waxes eloquent—which really means he speaks more than two lines—when he shows it’s not the car that matters, but the callous murder of Daisy the beagle.

He opines that Daisy gave him a measure of “hope. An opportunity to grieve unalone.”

[There was more but I didn’t get it all written down.]

The point is that John ACTUALLY VALUED THE DOG. Valued the dog so much that he was undone when Daisy was killed by the mobsters.

He recognized that the dog was a living, breathing being who had merit, had a purpose, had a right to life. And not just a life of survival—at the end of a chain or in some other horrible situation—but a life of inclusion, an acknowledgement that Daisy could be instrumental in his healing and his future hopes for happiness and well-being.

The thugs neither understood the value of the dog nor John’s feelings of her importance as part of his life. [ This article writer has little more empathy: http://news.yahoo.com/em-john-wick-em-idiot-killed-puppy-now-212930183.html;_ylt=A0LEVih0Nk1UEDEAhWljmolQ ]

• Passive Resistance •

In today’s world, not only can we not go on a shooting spree when someone ruthlessly abuses a dog; in most cases, we aren’t even allowed to speak on their behalf without fear of retribution from authorities.

Although most Americans love our dogs and believe they are firmly part of our families, there is still a segment of society who not only could care less about dogs, but actively does them harm without a second thought and usually without any consequences.

The question then becomes: how do concerned citizens and activists fight for the rights of these dogs who have no voice and are randomly abused with little to no concern on the part of the very officials who are tasked with upholding anti-cruelty laws?

It is my belief that the only choice remaining to us when faced with a corrupt legal system is passive resistance.

Passive resistance commonly refers to actions of nonviolent protest or resistance to authority. It has been used widely by groups who lack formal authority or position and provides a source of power to those disenfranchised from traditional politics. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/passive_resistance.aspx

One pic of the dog showing how close he/she was to the road.
One pic of the dog showing how close he/she was to the road.

I am currently employing Passive Resistance in facing a corrupt legal system in Bellwood, Pennsylvania, where I advocated for a dog on June 30th of this year.

The dog was tethered 24-7, right beside the street, on a too-short tether with a too-tight collar and 15 lbs. less weight than he/she should have. There was no visible food or water.

What are a citizen’s rights in this instance? A citizen, upon noticing animal abuse such as pictured above, has EVERY RIGHT to:

1. Advocate for the dog by speaking to the owner. If told to leave, must leave the property. (I never entered the property; I spoke to the owner from the street.)

2. Take photos of the dog and the abuse from public property, aka, the street, as seen above.

3. Call authorities and expect them to uphold the law by forcing the dog owner to come into compliance with existing cruelty laws.

4. Enlist the help of others in the public sphere to bring pressure on authorities to DO. THEIR. JOBS.

What do authorities usually expect a citizen to do when witnessing animal cruelty such as pictured above?

1. Mind your own damn business and walk away.

NO CITIZEN can be legally expected to pretend they don’t see animal cruelty OR child abuse. In fact, I would contend that every citizen is morally obligated to report both of these abominations.

Fact: Most citizens are too afraid to stand up for the animals because those who chain their dogs are not usually nice people; AND, these same people are the first ones to run to police and accuse the caring citizen of a crime to deflect from their own crimes against the animals.

It usually works.

Fact: Just because there is as of yet no anti-tethering law in Pennsylvania, doesn’t mean this situation wasn’t breaking already existing cruelty laws with the tightness of the collar, the length of the tether, the weight of the dog, and the lack of food and water.

And, the plain and simple truth remains—law or no law—that leaving a dog outside on a tether, in solitary confinement and a sitting duck for all evildoers who pass by, is morally repugnant and socially unacceptable.

doglo3

When I blew into town that day to chauffeur my son and his friends around for his 21st birthday, I was asked to check on the dog for a concerned Bellwood citizen who was either too afraid of the people living there or too afraid of getting in trouble for speaking up for the dog with police.

But, she shouldn’t have to be afraid to speak out on behalf of an abused dog, should she? There is no crime in that!

As it turns out, she was right to get me involved, because the corruption in Bellwood, PA is running knee deep. I would hate for her to have to go through this instead of me, but in reality, NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO BE GOING THROUGH THIS.

When I did exactly what was within my legal rights to do—photograph the dog from the street—I was verbally accosted both in person and online by the wonderful folks who live across the street from the dog.

When I posted the photos online and got the police and local humane officer 100 phone calls about the dog from folks expecting them to uphold cruelty laws, I suddenly ended up—as retribution—with two citations mailed to my home.

One for Trespassing (which anyone with two eyeballs can see didn’t happen because it was totally unnecessary—the dog was tethered right beside the public street) and one for Disorderly Conduct, for ARGUING with the neighbors across the street.

Make no mistake about one thing:

If I HAD trespassed, I would have felt I was doing what I needed to do and I would have immediately paid the fine. It would have been worth the price to me.

And if I HAD been disorderly in my conduct with FOUR complete strangers across the street for no damn good reason, I would have paid the fine for that as well.

(Although, since when is arguing illegal? Shouldn’t everyone everywhere be arrested every day, then? Don’t Bellwood PA police have actual crimes to investigate?)

Here is one of those four complete strangers  stating clearly on our facebook page that his uncle is a Bellwood police officer:

zack1

zach1

This could explain the false charges, eh?

So, in passive resistance to a corrupt authority, I refused to pay the fines.

Instead, I drove back to Bellwood, PA and protested outside the police station in August 2014.

If they wanted to arrest me, they knew where to find me.

Me in the happening town of Bellwood, PA
Me in the happening town of Bellwood, PA
Me protesting as the police officer drives by
Me protesting as the police officer drives by

Instead, they drove right by me for two days straight; so I packed up and went home.

• Arrest Warrants •

Last week, I received in the mail two arrest warrants for me for my crimes of…nothing.

Oh, that’s right, the crime of…speaking up for a dog who has no voice of his/her own.

Or, the crime of…going up against someone whose uncle is a Bellwood cop.

Or, the crime of…irritating police who aren’t doing their jobs with phone calls asking them to do their job and treat a living breathing being with something akin to respect.

So, tomorrow—Monday October 27th—I will drive back up to Pennsylvania and protest in passive resistance once again outside the Bellwood police station.

Presumably this time I will be arrested.

Am I afraid? A little.

But, no citizen who is doing the just act by standing up for another who has no voice SHOULD be afraid of jail.

No citizen SHOULD be punished for speaking out on behalf of an innocent animal or a child.

Unfortunately, all too often in our society, those who stand for the abused end up taking abuse too from those in positions of power and authority.

I will stand strong, and I will willingly give up my freedom in the fight to free this poor Bellwood dog from the abuse that has been heaped upon his/her head by uncaring people and law enforcement.

cattledog4

Doesn’t he/she deserve better?

To read more and find out what the dog owner has himself been convicted of, read our web page at http://dogsdeservebetter.org/papoliceabusepower.html

P.S. I don’t know if the dog is still out there today—the photo below is the latest photo I received, in August 2014.

The dog's location is moved, but otherwise he/she doesn't look to be faring any better than before.
The dog’s location is moved, but otherwise he/she doesn’t look to be faring any better than before.