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How can I help these dogs?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This hasn’t to do with cats, but I know a lot of you are involved with rescue, and I’m hoping for some good advise, as I find myself unsure of what to do. Here’s the situation:

I live in a rural area, where a lot of people allow their dogs to roam during the day. There’s about 10 dogs I see on a regular basis. Most of them won’t come near me, but 2 of them I made friends with. They are on my property a lot, and I got sick of being barked and growled at. These 2 are a mother and her pup, and as I found out a few weeks ago, they belong to a family a mile up the road from me.

During late summer and fall they were in pretty good condition, but since the snow started hitting heavy, they’ve been getting thinner and thinner. They are also extremely sub-servient with me, which makes me think they aren’t exactly treated that well at home, though I’ve never seen any signs of abuse on them. Last Wednesday I noticed that mom was getting fatter all of a sudden – I suspect that she is pregnant again.

I am really worried about these dogs. When I found out where they lived, I talked with the owners a bit. They told me they want to find a home for the pup, but have made no effort to do so; mom has been to see the vet once in her life, the pup never. They believe they are feeding them enough, though how they can think that is beyond me. They must not spend much time with them.

These dogs are wonderful animals. They are friendly, and loving. I want to do something for them, but I don’t know what. I’ve been over and over my budget, but I can’t find the money to take one of them in; I’ve thought about calling animal control for the county, but the operation here is small. They are only open three hours a day, those hours falling in the middle of the work day, and only hold the animals for 7 days. There’s a private shelter nearby that would take them if the owners would drop them off, but the owners don’t seem to want to do that either. I’ve thought about just taking them there myself, but I’m not sure about laws and such governing that… though I don’t think the owners would really care if their dogs didn’t come home.

Can anyone give me some advise, or ideas on what I might be able to do? I’m about ready to cry everytime I see them these days. I’ve got to do something for them.
post #2 of 9
Can you feed them a bit to help fatten them up? I know it's tough. Do you have a rescue there that will step in and take the dogs? There is one here in Vancouver that will try to reason with the owner at first, if that fails they will go and "steal" the animal just to get it into a better situation.
post #3 of 9
I would call an animal rescue center or animal control and report the neglect. Perhaps a uniformed officer showing up and warning them to take care of these unfortunate creatures will make a difference. If you start feeding them, they will stay with you and you could be accused of dognapping if it gets ugly. Perhaps find someone that WILL adopt the pup, point them toward the house and let them ask the owner to take the youngster-
post #4 of 9
You can find rescue groups in your area thru Petfinder.com. Do a search for dogs with your zip code and it will bring up adoptable dogs. You can click on the rescue group to get to their web page and contact them from there.

Most people let their dogs roam loose in rural areas. I don't agree with this, but it is a fact of life in the country. Worse is when they chain their dogs outside. If the owner is willing to give up a pup, then having a rescue group contact them and visiting them may not only help the pup, but give a rescue group access to the situation. If they are unable to feed them or neuter then, oftentimes they will arrange for help.

I hope this helps.
post #5 of 9
I can't imagine worrying about these dog abusers reporting you for taking good care of their dogs! They are the ones neglecting them and you are caring and kind. I say take care of the animals and report these people for neglect.
post #6 of 9
You have received some good advice!

Best of luck!
post #7 of 9
I would definitely speak to a rescue worker. There are some places that require pet owners to have shelters for their outside animals, or possibly be arrested and fined. There are several counties here in NC with that law. I knew nothing about it until I got to know a dog lover that also happened to be a police officer. He enforces it strictly in his town, and there are not many animals running loose. If they do not comply, the animals are removed, and the owners fined. It is worth checking in to.
post #8 of 9
To start with, it is absolutely not legal for any rescue group to simply take any owned animal, no matter how badly they think the animal has been treated. Some Humane societies have arrangements with counties to hire enforcement officers for animal cruelty/neglect, but this is extremely rare in rural areas and does not occur with other types of rescues.

You are the best one to know if your area is different than the norm, but since we are talking a rural area here, if animal control picks these dogs up it's very likely the owners will not reclaim them and they will very likely NOT be adopted, so consider that carefully before reporting them. Also, even if you do report them, in most rural areas, animal control is unlikely to pick them up unless they pose a threat. In reality, I seriously doubt there is any chance of neglect charges being filed for this type of situation. Since the dogs are free roaming, chances are good the dogs are infested with worms. The owners may well be putting out food (though how much and how often is unknown), but an infested dog will still lose weight and there may be no telling how much of the food the dogs get (as opposed to wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, etc.)

The general rule applied for legal ownership in most rural areas is "you feed it, it's yours." (You'll need to verify this with the local authorities.) The reality is, knowing mamma is likely pregnant and they both likely need de-worming and shots, you will have to decide how important rescuing these particular dogs is to you and whether you are willing to make a personal commitment to them. If you are unable to afford it, you'll need to be realistic about your abilities. I know this sounds cold, but this is the reality of it. You'll have to decide for yourself, but I would be very careful about approaching the owners regarding surrendering the dogs to any rescue group or a private shelter. I doubt there is much likelihood of this happening, and you may be putting yourself at risk by broaching the subject.

Sorry to give such a glum report.

post #9 of 9
There are some places that require pet owners to have shelters for their outside animals, or possibly be arrested and fined. There are several counties here in NC with that law.
I am connected with people in this state that both write and enforce these laws. NC General Statutes: § 19A-35 require the owner of any animal to provide adequate food, water and housing. In most rural counties in this state (as in other states) this is only enforced in the most extreme cases, and generally only when some active intent is demonstrated or some other more serious crime is associated (drugs, animal fighting, etc.)

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