Looking for a Little Love this Valentine’s Day? You and a whole boatload of chained dogs, silently suffering in backyards all across America.
This week, during Dogs Deserve Better’s Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week (February 7-14), we are pairing Valentines made by schoolchildren, scouts, and otherwise crafty people with educational brochures and mailing them to addresses of approximately 10,000 chained dogs—dogs who are lookin’ for just a little love.
All in the hopes that when dog caretakers get a look at these super-sweet Valentines—handmade especially for their dog—their hearts will expand too and they will be inspired to Free Fido, giving him/her an honored spot at their next holiday dinner.
But, as with anytime kids are involved, there is always potential for messages to go slightly askew, making for some giggles if not some outright guffaws. And so, I present to you my All Time Top Ten Favoritest Funniest Kids’ Valentines for Chained Dogs:
1. At Least Give Me Enough Chain to Reach the Hot Dog Stand.
This is one smart kid. He figures the dog is hungry, and if his/her owner won’t feed him, if he had enough chain he could get his own dang hotdogs.
2. I Like Food. Not Dirt. Love, Your Dog.
OK, something about this one just slays me. I can’t stop giggling when I read it.
3. Let Me In or I Will Bite Your Children. P.S. I Have Rabies.
Granted, this one is a little threatening, but still pretty darn funny. And, he or she probably knows that chained dogs are 3x more likely to bite!
4. I Got You a Balloon. Will You Let Me In Now, Please!
While the balloon is funny, the dogs face really does me in. He’s so deadpan. This kid knows that gifts and flattery can sometimes get you everywhere.
5. Yo, Let Me In. [Appears to have a baseball hat on backwards even]. Yo Yo Please Let Me In. Also Get Some Food Up in this Joint. And this Collar is Choking My Neck. Also Get Water Yo.
Dogs in the Hood. ‘Nuf said.
6. I Promise to Spread the Love, Not the Fleas.
Come on, how cute is that? I’m not sure that’s a promise a chained dog can keep without a little flea medication, but I love the sentiment.
7. I’m Talking to the Cats. I Don’t Like Them. So Break the Chain And Let Me In. Please?
I think there’s even a little pic of the dog going after the cat in there? I guess he’s so desperate for someone to talk to he’s talking to the cats. And that’s just not good.
8. Don’t be Cruel and Freeze. Let Me In and I’ll Cuddle with your Knees. Come On, Don’t Be a Hater and Get Me Just to Impress your Friends and then Throw Me Outside.
I gotta love anything with the word ‘hater’ in it.
I think these last two were made by adults, but they’re still funny…
9. [Dude, you’re Holding Me Prisoner]
10. 1-800-HAVAHEART. Hello, It’s Your Dog. Can I Come In…
Haha. If that worked I’d buy them all cell phones!
Some of the Valentines we receive might even bring a tear to your eye; they’re sure to get an ‘Aw.’ These kids create such touching Valentines that I can’t help but think they have to melt the ice around a caretaker’s heart. Will the dog then get a chance at a real, inside home and family?
My Top Picks for Touching Valentines are as Follows:
Here are My Top Picks for “Tellin’ It Like It Is” Valentines:
And lastly, we get some truly gorgeous handmade Valentines by our crafty supporters. This is but a handful of the wonderful creations they’ve sent in over the past 12 years, and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has poured their hearts and souls into the making of these Valentines. It shows, and I hope they touch the hearts that receive them.
Since it appears the news station only called Dogs Deserve Better for a statement AFTER our office staff went home for the day (leaving a message just before 6 p.m.), I’ll be more than happy to create our rebuttal to the above story here in my blog.
1. Was it an animal rescue, or a “violent act of harassment?”
Neither. It was a stand against animal cruelty.
You see, while every one of you at your news station goes home to your WARM, happy, and healthy dogs sleeping on your couches, Joe Schmoe that you’ve just interviewed leaves his dogs outside for life.
Because, in his words, “They AREN’T HOUSE DOGS.”
But they are. HOUSE DOGS. Joe Schmoe is just too uncaring to know it.
Every dog is a house dog. Every dog wants to be a member of the family, and these two pit mixes you’re showing are no exception.
Pitbulls are some of the most chained dogs in America, yet they are short-coated dogs and don’t have the fur to endure the cold; they are among the first to freeze to death at the end of a chain.
2. Police are ‘concerned’ about an ‘out of state’ rescue group’s methods.
What would these heinous METHODS be, you might ask? Putting up photos of a dog in distress on social media and having people call the authorities and the news stations about it?
It’s called FREE SPEECH. Social action. Dog advocacy. Nothing sinister about it, although it sure is being purported as such.
3. Police say the viral response to our Facebook post ‘could have put lives in danger.’
Weren’t lives already in danger? The dogs who are forced to live outside in sub freezing temperatures on nights with wind chills as low as -7 are in danger of death every single day of the winter months. By people taking a stand against this treatment of our best friends, we are acting to SAVE LIVES.
4. Even ‘we’ (the news station) felt the repercussions.
So the news station and the police station get bombarded with phone calls asking for help for the dog? I would call that a success. Thanks to everyone who stood up for the dog and made a difference. We do have a voice, and we can and should continue to use our voices until laws and lawmakers and those tasked with upholding the laws understand that living beings have the right to live free of the danger of death at the end of chain.
5. People came around his house and made threats and brandished pistols.
[I watch a lot of Judge Judy because my hubby likes her. She would say if someone DID brandish a weapon, wouldn’t that be the first thing you talk about instead of bringing it up at the end as an afterthought? I know I’d be blubbering on and on about that if it were me.]
Dogs Deserve Better asks for phone calls to police and local news on dog cases like this. We NEVER advocate violence. Anyone who becomes violent as a result of something they read online is standing on their own, and not as part of any group.
I can tell you that dog-loving Americans are getting fed up with the animal abuse and neglect. If they are acting out, I would suggest that lawmakers stop dragging their feet and get to making and enforcing better laws for Man’s Best Friend.
IF THIS REALLY HAPPENED, and I have no idea if it did or not, then it probably won’t be the first or last time.
However, neither I nor DDB are responsible for one person’s reaction to the abuse they are seeing. We simply point it out; we don’t advocate or condone violence in reaction to it. We ask for phone calls to flood the police and the media.
6. Blames it on his neighbor.
Our apologies and condolences go out to this neighbor. Do you know how much abuse she had to witness in order to decide to stand and ask for help for the dog? Can you understand for one second the fear she had to face just by going public with what she was seeing?
Color me shocked! Not. Dog wardens, animal control officers, police, seldom find ‘anything wrong’ unless the dog’s already dead. At that point they MIGHT start to think something is wrong, but you can bet in most cases there won’t even be charges filed.
News reporter—Shelby is it—do you have two eyes? Do you have a dog? Because anyone who DOES have two eyes can see that there’s definitely something wrong.
8. They are well cared for, but not HOUSE DOGS.
Joe Schmoe states the dogs were well cared for, but NOT house dogs. Then they were NOT well cared for, or they WOULD be house dogs. ‘Outside dogs’ and ‘cared for’ do not go together. Oddly, the news station continually showed photos of the dog inside, but then they admit the dogs live outside and proudly show the doghouses.
Doghouses are not something to be proud of.
In fact, I’d like to issue a CHALLENGE TO THIS GUY, JOE SCHMOE DOG OWNER. I WILL COME THERE AND CHAIN UP TO YOUR DOGHOUSES WITH YOU IN THE DOGS’ PLACE.
WHEN YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH AND CAN ADMIT THAT THIS IS NO LIFE FOR A DOG, WE WILL QUIT. Deal?
Just give me a call at our office when you’re ready for our challenge. 757-357-9292.
9. She had a skin allergy, which is why she was red and patchy. I have ointment for it.
Did the news station ask to see the vet bill for the medicine? Any vet instructions for the skin allergy? Or, as usual, did they just believe whatever they were told.
I’ve never had a vet prescribe ointment for any of the dogs we’ve rescued with skin allergies. They had special baths, antibiotics, antifungals, and a myriad of other medicines by mouth considering what kind of skin condition the vet thought they had, but I have never been prescribed an ointment.
Do you know why? BECAUSE THEY LICK IT OFF.
So I won’t believe he had ointment for his dog’s skin allergy without seeing a vet bill and prescription for it.
10. He has doghouses with bedding, food and water, and even heat lamps.
Um, wow? Besides the obvious, that NO DOG DESERVES TO LIVE OUTSIDE and instead deserves to have a cushy bed INSIDE the home, I really didn’t see more than a few twigs of straw in the houses, and I didn’t see any food and water either.
And the heat lamp? Appeared to be on a crate INSIDE the home. What’s up with that.
11. Police chief says “because of all the phone calls and e-mails he couldn’t have responded to ‘something serious.'”
Come on! That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. Not only could he have certainly responded to ‘something serious’ but this comment in and of itself is exactly the problem.
Dogs are considered unimportant in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of law enforcement.If they HAD taken the problem seriously, the phone calls would have immediately stopped and the dog would have been safely inside and warm, and perhaps on her way to the vet.
12. Check the facts before posting on social media.
Hmmm. Ok, let’s check the facts. Yep, looks like we had our facts straight. Dog outside? Check. Dog has skin condition and low body fur to survive chained in the winter cold? Check and check.
13. Gave Samantha to a rescue group.
Well, then? I guess all’s well that ends well. I’d call that was a good day for Samantha.
Looks like you’re on your way to a new and better life, girl. Have a great one! Run, play, snuggle, do all those things that normal dogs get to do and you were deprived of. You sure deserve your happy ending.
14. Big FAIL for the OHIO POLICE and the TV STATION.
While your dogs sit inside cushy and warm, you condone and defend those who allow their dogs to suffer and die in the winter cold. You send a message that this behavior is acceptable and perpetuate the real crime against all of doghood: that chaining a dog outside for life is status quo when in fact it isn’t and it never will be.
We will not stop doing what is right and standing for the abused.We suggest that you use the two eyes you have to see the neglect right in front of you and do something about it, rather than defending the abuser.
P.S. To Anyone who may or may not have acted out with violence
Seriously. If anyone DID hold a gun on this guy or his family? That’s effed up. Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that.
You only give the dog owners who mistreat their pets ammo to paint themselves as the victims. Don’t do it.
Yesterday the real victim—the dog—got to safety and will get to know a loving, inside home and family. That’s what’s important.
Thank you so much to the Underdog Society-Knox County Dog Rescue who stepped up to rescue Samantha. If you’d like help with her vet bills, please fill out the form for our Hero Fund grant at this link, and we’ll be happy to help her on to a new and happier life: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/hero.html.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.
I went for the fundraiser for #GivingTuesday that I really wanted to make happen; but I was terrified to push that button, to hit send on the e-mail. Why?
Because my idea is pretty much guaranteed to fail.
I mean, how can I think 687,000 people will give DDB just $1.00 each, when I’m lucky if I can get my kids to text me back, or my dog to come when I call him?
Yeah it’s a pretty ludicrous notion.
But wouldn’t it be so simple, and so lovely, if we could all just give $1 to every cause that mattered to us? I think we’d change the world! I see the vision of what COULD be possible for our animal friends, and it brings a big smile to my face.
So I pushed the button, and I hit send. To report: halfway through #GivingTuesday we have raised $1790 from 69 donors. Yes, we’re hella shy of 687,000 donors and $687,000 dollars, but guess what?
I’m proud of those who have already donated, and so thankful for you all. I’m hopeful we will continue to see #GivingTuesday donations for our wing addition throughout the night. Here are the links if you can donate even $1.
Truth is, I don’t know how to raise the money we need to move ahead as an organization. I hoped if we all did some small part then it would be a hardship for none.
I need a bigger space for our dogs, so we can rescue double the dogs, and I can’t do that without money. To the tune of $300,000 to build anything of acceptable quality and space. Our dogs deserve a home environment; if we expect people to see the value in dogs, we have to put them in a place that showcases their value, that believes in them the way Dogs Deserve Better (and you) believe in them.
In terms of annual budget, when we are able to build, we’ve only fought half the battle. Because if we double the dogs we have to double the staff and a trainer, measuring up to a whopping $225,000 once you include all the taxes and such. And did we even mention vet care yet? Gulp.
So pardon me, if for today I’m going to go back to my Pie in the Sky Vision of What Could Be. I need to believe that we can somehow make this happen, and for today I will believe in the possibilities. Because I believe that our dogs deserve a facility where they can go and learn how to be REAL dogs. And somehow we need to make that happen for them.
If all 687,000 of our Facebook fans donated JUST ONE DOLLAR on #GivingTuesday, DDB could build our rescue dog wing AND staff it for a year!
Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit freeing dogs from chains and bringing them into homes and families, has exciting plans drawn up for a rescue ‘bedroom wing’ to add to our existing 4600 sq. ft. building so we can double the number of chained dogs we can free, train, socialize, and put into wonderful lives with wonderful families.
Yes, we have plans, but what we don’t have? The funding to get us there.
Our Facebook and social media family has been amazingly supportive of our rescued dogs, and we’re wondering if all 687,000 of our fans chipped in just $1.00 on #GivingTuesday how far that could take us?
All the way for this dream, actually!
Plans and current cost estimates to build 12-14 ‘bedrooms’ for the dogs is about $300,000. Cost to employ four full time staff members to care for, train, and socialize the dogs for 13.5 hours a day for a year is approximately $225,000.
As it turns out, creating a dream rescue for dogs who come from nothing isn’t cheap. Or easy.
But don’t they Deserve Better than Life at the End of a Chain? It is the goal of Dogs Deserve Better to give our rescued chainef dogs a facility that is much better than a traditional shelter. A place where they can learn what it is to be a real dog—where they get the vet care and training they need to move on to loving, inside homes and families.
Dogs Deserve Better owns and operates the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs in Smithfield, Va. We transport dogs to the Good Newz Center from all across the nation—even from as far away as Houston, Texas, and Forks, Washington.
In 2011 we took over the property where football player Michael Vick housed his dogfighting compound; there dogs were chained, penned, forced to fight, and brutally killed if they didn’t perform well.
Today, our dogs romp through the same field where dogs used to live chained. Every dog runs twice a day in our seven-acre fenced field and then comes back inside the home where formerly dogs were not allowed. They enjoy the fireplace in what was once a living room, and take baths in the jacuzzi tubs and shower of what was once the master bedroom.
Dogs are socialized and trained in groups for 13.5 hours a day, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., both by staff and our behavioral therapist who visits twice a week to work with both staff and dogs.
These dogs come from nothing, and don’t know how to live with people or other dogs. They have never been to the vet, never ridden in a car, never been inside a home.
All this is taught to them by staff and volunteers They are loved, provided with vet care, trained, adopted into loving homes with loving families.
Unfortunately, because we are currently working from what was previously a house, the state of Virginia has limited the number of dogs we can rescue at any given time to 13 until we build a wing with quarters they will approve.
Our dogs currently stay in group socialization rooms, and can be inside or out through doggie doors all day long. They sleep, eat, and nap in crates for their safety.
With our wing, will be able to immediately DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF DOGS we can work with at any given time, upping our number to 26-28 doggie residents. Each room will have two dog beds, indoor/outdoor access, and homelike features to get dogs used to living inside the home and going outside to do their business.
Dogs will still be trained and socialized in group settings, but when they are not in group they will have safe yet spacious areas in which to sleep and play.
This expansion will prove of benefit to at least 120 dogs per year, plus ease the minds of caring citizens and neighbors of chained dogs who have to watch these dogs suffer. With more room, we can free more dogs, and that in turn frees more people from the pain of witnessing what is in most cases legal cruelty.
So what do you say? Let’s RAISE THE ROOF FOR RESCUE DOGS on #GivingTuesday. We chose Razoo because we have many opportunities with them to RAISE EVEN MORE MONEY. They are giving out prizes all day long, so please donate and ask your friends to give even $1.00 each.
I then got an anonymous tip that the dog and ‘oh-so-caring’ owner moved right beside one of the Bellwood Funeral Homes, up from where Cornmesser’s used to be. (That’s Bellwood talk. Cornmesser’s was an old hardware store that was on the corner of Main Street … forever. Now it’s a daycare, but if you were around long enough, you still refer to it as Cornmesser’s.)
The tip told me that the poor dog has already been barking all night long at the new location, and neighbors have been complaining. The owner has been warned that if he/she keeps barking at night he will be fined.
Dogs Deserve Better stands ready to take this dog into our rescue at a moment’s notice. If anyone can talk the owner into releasing this poor creature to rescue, give us a call at 757-357-9292 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to find him/her a new, INSIDE home and family.
The photos make me feel sad; sad that he/she doesn’t have the loving kindness she/he deserves and is forced to huddle on the cement stairs begging to be let in.
I wrote this for the dog:
I stretch my red tether,
crawl under the railing
So I can be closer.
I huddle on the step
hard cold cement
Hoping you’ll see me.
Green paint in my fur,
lost hope in my eyes
How long will I wait?
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.’
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.