When it's time to be the busybody dog protector
Blurred line on leashing and crating outside of the home
I’ve loved dogs since I was around 8 years old. I’ve never been the kid who ran up on strangers’ dogs or the adult woman who bombards people to play with their dogs though. I never had to be. For whatever reason, dogs usually beeline for me. It made it that much easier to become a professional dog walker, even though it was originally just supposed to be a hobby due to an anti-pet rule in my condo bylaws.
Still, for the same reasons I find parents who give unsolicited parental advice to other parents aggravating—or even worse, strangers who walk up and touch pregnant women’s bellies—I tend to avoid giving other pet owners advice on how to train or interact with their dogs. Clearly, this “Black Girl In a Doggone World” series is intended to share my personal pet opinions, but the readers are voluntarily reading this content. I can count on one hand the number of times that I went out of my way to get into someone’s business about their pets: 1. tornado (involving my own dog); 2. lady hitting her unleashed dog after it ran into the street.
Other than that, being a Dog Karen is just not of interest to me.
But every blue moon, I run into a story that makes me think, “Busybodies aren’t always wrong. Sometimes you really need to listen to these pet people.”
A recent story about a woman who lives in my hometown (Chicago) is one of those examples. According to CWB Chicago, the woman was charged with felony animal cruelty for allegedly leaving her Goldendoodle crated in her backyard during a snowstorm. While others were celebrating Christmas season, some neighbors were paying particular attention to the way this dog was being treated and reporting “numerous complaints” since the dog came home last summer at only 6 weeks old.
In rainy, snowy and windy weather, that dog was outside in the crate—and crying. I kept waiting for the story to have a “Good News Network” kind of ending. It did not. Meanwhile, I distinctly recall how freezing cold it was this past Christmas between the 25th and the 27th because it was the first time in almost two years that my dog pooped inside. We were at a family member’s house, and her paws were just too cold to stand in one place and relieve herself. I couldn’t even be mad at her. (She made it outside for the rest of her walks throughout the week.)
During the same Christmas weekend where my dog could barely stand in one spot, this lady’s dog was outside in a metal crate on a concrete patio. And the dog died. The woman said she went to work at 5 a.m., left no food nor water, came home at 5 p.m. and claimed she “forgot” to check on the dog. My first thought was, “Puppies are fed three times per day. So leaving an untrained puppy at home alone for that long is insane to begin with. Then, not feeding it or cleaning up after it for 12 straight hours is even worse.
This story took me back to the days of my own next-door neighbors.