Dogs Left Outside Dying of Freezing Cold

by Denise Carey-Costa

The winter weather is blasting much of the East coast and the nation with frigid temperatures. Already, only 15 days into 2018, the death toll of dogs left outside in icy temperatures is rising. Everywhere you look, on all media sites you see the warning “If it’s too cold for you, its too cold for your pet.”

Several states and local jurisdictions have stepped up penalties against pet owners who leave animals exposed to extreme weather.Why then, do owners still ignore these warnings and leave their pets outside to die?  Why do some Animal Control and Law Enforcement agencies work hard to save these animals and charge the owners while others just turn a blind eye?

Terri Wilson,  a resident of Mays Landing in N. Hamilton Township, New Jersey, has been a strong advocate for dogs in her neighborhood who are left outside She has gone above and beyond by getting actual photos to assist the local Animal Control in knowing what kind of conditions a dog is living in.

When going to a house on County Blvd in May’s Landing to get photographs of a dog left outdoors in single digit temperatures, she was verbally assaulted by the dog’s owner. According to Terri, this same owner had another dog freeze to death in a dilapidated dog house. The resident has been keeping the current dog in a pen with the only shelter being an uninsulated, unheated dog house far from the house, near a wooded area.  This begs the question; why even have a dog just to leave it outdoors and ignore it 24/7?

Shore Animal Control responded to Terri’s complaint on the dog and told the owner she had to take the dog inside if the temperature is below freezing. The dog was taken inside for one night then left back outside. And the owner, knowing her dog’s situation is closely being scrutinized by residents and the authorities, has turned the dog house around so the entrance does not face the street and people will not be able to see if the dog is still out there.

The owner, besides subjecting her dog to a horrible life of misery has also been vindictive against Terri by filing harassment charges on her for speaking up for the dog. Terri has a court hearing on January 31st, 2018. In speaking to Linda Gentille, manager of Shore Animal Control via phone, she stated the case of the dog on County Blvd. has been turned over to the Atlantic County SPCA for further investigation.

In speaking further to Linda Gentille and asking what her agency is doing to relieve the suffering of outdoor dogs this winter, she advised her agency has seized multiple dogs from their homes over the past three weeks.  The animal control officers who respond to such complaints use a temperature gun to determine the temperature inside a dog’s house in extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Why do some agencies work hard to help these animals while others remain lackadaisical? Some officers have been known to tell the owners to put up a fence, so the dogs won’t be visible to passerby’s. This is equal to a child protective agent telling the parent it’s okay to beat their child if they do it indoors where the neighbors can’t see.

Until all complaints of animal neglect are taken seriously, until the animal services agencies, humane societies and law enforcement agencies work in tandem with each other for the well-being of animals, until harsher sentences are meted out to abusers and until Good Samaritans who act to help these poor creatures are treated like heroes instead of villains, dogs will continue to die slow, torturous deaths in freezing temperatures.

If you witness a dog(s) left outside in frigid temperatures, call your local animal control office, law enforcement agency or humane society and speak out.  Follow up on all complaints to assure action has been taken.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandi  

*This story first appeared in Pet Rescue Report and is reposted here with the author’s permission.

About the Author

Denise Carey-Costa is a journalist, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. She was recently awarded the Best Producer Award from the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards for her latest film, Growing up with Hollywood (January, 2016). Her first film Tony’s TaleTragedy in Arizona (August 2014) was the winner of eight national film festival awards including several Audience Choice Awards. She has also written numerous children’s books promoting kindness and compassion for all creatures. Among her children’s books are A Tale of Three TailsEdwin’s FlightLucky, and Angelina’s Angel. And her non-fiction piece Tony’s Tale Tragedy in Arizona. She lives in Orlando, Florida, where she works with local rescue shelters.

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