The polar vortex may be chilling much of the Midwest to the bone this week, but it’s cold as hell elsewhere too. And a dog’s place during these frigid winter months is huddled up inside with their people where it’s toasty warm. But during the last few days, multiple reports have surfaced of dogs freezing to death after being left outside amid record-low temperatures.
In a gut-wrenching Facebook post shared Wednesday, the Indianapolis Animal Care Services shared accounts of multiple incidents of apparent animal neglect witnessed by one of its employees. During one animal welfare checkup, a dog left chained outside had to be confiscated after officials found it “shivering and clearly terrified,” the agency employee said. Another dog was found dead after allegedly being left in the cold overnight (warning: the description is graphic):
We encountered a dog owner who left his dog outside, letting it freeze overnight to a cold wooden doghouse outside. The only thing blocking the cold, bitter air was a towel. While that is truly horrific, what the owner did next is even worse. He picked up the dog and threw it away in a dumpster, as if its life meant nothing. When we found the dog, it was emaciated and covered in trash. The small area where the dog spent its last hours had a frozen water bowl and gave you a glimmer of the painful days and nights it suffered before freezing to the ground of its doghouse.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Detective Bill Carter confirmed to the Indianapolis Star that the dog was found outside of an apartment building in a pile of trash. And a woman who claimed to be a neighbor of the dog’s owner told the paper that she regularly saw the dog outdoors. The agency said that a probe into the incident “is underway and it could result in possible criminal charges.”
This isn’t an isolated incident. A man in Minnesota was cited for animal cruelty this week after reportedly leaving his dog chained and shivering outside in below-zero temperatures. In Michigan, Theresa Sumpter, director of the rescue nonprofit Detroit Pit Crew, reportedly told the Detroit Free Press that it has gotten hundreds of calls from people in the area concerned over seeing dogs out in the cold. And similar reports of dogs dying after being left alone in the freezing cold surface every year.
Let’s not mince words here: Leaving a dog outside in the cold is a cowardly, utterly spineless act of negligence. It’s also abuse, and depending on the conditions under which the dog is left, potentially against the law. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends contacting law enforcement if you see a dog left alone in the cold for any prolonged period of time.
Dogs don’t deserve to be chained outside in the cold. Bring your damn dogs inside.