Friday, January 29, 2010

Tough Stuff

I hate these kinds of situations. The ones that force me to choose between complacency and taking action.

There is a dog (diagonally) across the street in a garage. It's been there for - I don't know - days, I guess. It yelps and howls and cries and it makes my stomach turn. This is not the sort of thing I can just ignore. If an animal sounds like it is suffering, it's way worse than a crying child to me (Sorry Moms and Dads, I know I am supposed to value human life more than animal life, but my heart aches way more when I know a helpless animal is in distress. I have compassion for people, too, but just not in the same "tear my insides to shreds when I hear it cry" sort of way as with dogs. I am not sure if this makes me a bad person. It probably does.) So, last night I just couldn't take it anymore. I walked toward the house to check things out. I approached the garage door where they have the mail slot. I peered in and called out to the dog. It was silent. Maybe it was wagging its tail. Maybe it thought, "For crying out loud, someone is FINALLY here to help me!" But, of course, there are laws. You can't just pull up your neighbor's garage door without expecting to be sent to prison on B & E charges. I looked into the home. There appeared to be a television on. My first thought was that these people left it on to make thieves think that they were home. But then I thought, "Wait. What if the person who lives there had a stroke or heart attack. Shit." So, I wandered back to my house not knowing what to, but knowing that I had to do something. I immediately went to my next door neighbor, Jen's house. She is extremely sympathetic to animal causes. She was like, "Let's call the police. I'm not afraid." And so she did. But the animal patrol person was off for the night, so they said they would send an officer to check things out.

We don't live in a posh neighborhood, so I was already skeptical as to whether or not they would send anyone. Then, I started thinking - what if they do send someone and the people get in trouble and decide to target me and Jen (this is where the dilemma comes in). She has 2 cats and dog of her own and of course, we have 2 cats. What if we find a big brick through our windows?

The garage is attached to the home, it isn't separate. This is good, as it means it is likely more warm this way. And who knows? Maybe the animal is well fed, but left alone all day by someone who, because of this crappy economy, has to work 2 jobs to make ends meet? Maybe the dog isn't even theirs? Maybe the dog is ok, but has terrible separation anxiety. All these scenarios run through my head, and yet the dog is still yelping. Like, right now as I type this.

I contacted my uncle, who is an officer for the Animal Rescue League in Mass. He knows the staff in RI pretty well and basically said that we did the right thing by calling the cops. They keep things anonymous. He told me to let him know if it persists and that he would make a call to the RI ARL. I think we might have to do that. What else can we do?

A car finally appeared in their driveway and we haven't heard any yelping since. The car has left, but who knows? Maybe the dumbasses finally took care of the dog. We will keep our ears peeled.

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Blogger bless_cyborgs said...

Oh, Kim. I can't tell you how many days out of every month I end up getting involved with weirdo situations because people treat animals unbelievably wrong. I could write a separate blog on my daily findings...

But anyway, I would have said to talk to the people who live there to try to get a sense of what is going on (i.e. knocking on the door and saying, "oh gee, I was walking by when I heard an animal crying, do you need help? ") I try to pretend like I care about helping the person just to wiggle my way into finding out info or seeing something.

But since you already called the cops, they will know it was you.

My suggestion is to stalk them as much as possible, and take pictures of anything suspicious. The dog has to go outside at some point for potty time, and you should take a good look at the dog to see if it looks OK.

Peta has an investigation team that I've helped before in documenting abuse cases. If you have enough reason for them to venture out, they will get someone to go document what is going on, and then eventually press charges if they can.

You also should look up the laws for your town/county/state (I found out mine by way of google-it's public info), and have a very frank chat with your local animal control officer about the situation. Let the officer know who you are, where you live and why you are concerned. Ask for his take on it.

January 30, 2010 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger bless_cyborgs said...

PS- Today I was in Orange, and called the cops because a dalmation was loose on the back of an open truck, and looked TERRIFIED. (Especially when taking turns sharply!) Cops probably didn't do anything but I got the license plate # and let them know. I will also call animal control.

January 30, 2010 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I contemplated knocking first, but I decided to get input from my friend Jen first who said that we should call the coppers.

It's been pretty quiet over there, but, yeah, if it starts up again, I am totally calling the ARL!

Poor Dalmatian! People suck!

January 31, 2010 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Kim, you did the right thing. I think going over there would have made you the obvious target and having you make up some story that you were concerned if it's someone who clearly doesn't give a hoot, would target you in a serious backlash if you DID have to take some sort of legal action.

my opinion. take it for what it's worth.

If they can't take care of the dog they need to give it away. If it's a Dalmatian dog, I am assuming it's in the garage because it is a typically over-hyper dog that likes to chew and run. Those dogs need early and serious training and when left to its own devices can be destructive. Not its fault.

February 2, 2010 at 6:17 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

My neighbor and I have since hypothesized that the neighbor is away (in the hospital, on vacation, what-have-you) and the people who come over are actually there to take it out and feed it. I saw them leave with the dog for a little while yesterday. We are going to give it another few days for the neighbors to return. We are guessing that the dog is very lonely, probably not used to being by itself. I can't wait for this to be over, honestly. I hate listening to it cry.

February 2, 2010 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger bless_cyborgs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 2, 2010 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger bless_cyborgs said...

(Edited because I was typing too fast, and made a grammatical error. Not for content.) would asking someone if everything is OK when you hear yelping (so loudly in fact that she can hear it across the street) come back to bite her if she went forward with legal action?

How would anyone ever know if you care more about the animal than the person? (Or care for that matter...)

..and finally, all dogs need stimulation, exercise and training. Breed specific profiling is mainly a pile of BS.

My opinion. As someone who devotes all of her brain power and will to animals. For what it's worth. Pfft.

February 2, 2010 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I am in a "wait and see if the people return" state right now. I hate being in this situation because all I want to do is run over and steal that poor dog, but, to Joanna's point, I do worry about being the target of a backlash. I don't know these people at all. They just moved here a few months ago. We have a home and 2 beautiful cats. Maybe I am paranoid, but I do worry about that stuff.

Caitlin, I am with you on the emotional level. I have always admired the advocacy work that you have done. As a person who can't even bear to watch those PETA commercials, I feel like such a coward. You get right into the trenches and that is very admirable.

Alright, I am going to my happy place now. Rainbows and unicorns and Andy Samberg and Swedish fish and Pee Wee Herman and kittens and foot massages ...

February 2, 2010 at 5:47 PM  

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