Animal Cruelty; What to do?
Winter has arrived with cold, snowy, sunny days filled with lots of time to romp and play. While we take our furry companions with us most of the time, sometimes it isn’t best for them. I’ll leave my pups at home when temperatures dip to ensure they’re safe and warm. Just imagine leaving your best friend in your cold car while you go shopping for hours.
There is a common misconception that dogs will be “fine” if left outside. Just like people, they can get hypothermia and frostbite, with young and senior pets at a higher risk. Of course some breeds like Malamutes and Samoyeds love the very cold weather, but even they need protection from the elements. My rule of thumb is I’ll stay outside with my girls, keep an eye on them, and when I’m cold, we all head in.
The other day around sunset I saw a dog in the back of a snow covered, open bed truck. The high for that day was 13 degrees. Her tail was tucked between her legs, she was shivering and looking desperately at the door where her people had disappeared. She stood freezing outside as snow covered her coat with no shelter in sight as the sun set, temperatures dipping. My heart fell. I didn’t know what to do. My friends said I should have taken her home with me.
I didn’t, but this made me question what the laws are and what people can do to help animals they see in distress. Looking online I found the Boulder County Animal Cruelty Ordinance No. 2006-3, which contains line item:(b)Extreme Temperature Exposure (http://www.bouldercounty.org/find/library/government/ordanimalcontrol.pdf)Section 8 – Treatment of Animals
(a) Cruelty to Animals It shall be unlawful for a person to knowingly or with criminal negligence to overdrive, overload, overwork, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate, needlessly kill, carry in or upon any vehicle in a cruel manner, or otherwise mistreat or neglect any animal or cause or procure it to be done, or having the charge and custody of any animal, fail to provide it with proper food, drink or protection from the weather, or abandon it. Any animal the subject of such cruelty may be impounded if, in the opinion of the Animal Control Officer, impoundment is necessary for the protection of the animal. (b) Extreme Temperature Exposure It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or has control of any animal to confine the animal in a vehicle such that it is exposed to extreme temperatures, or fail to provide adequate shelter, as to cause signs of distress to the animal. (c) Improper Care and Treatment It shall be unlawful for a person to fail to provide any livestock or domestic animal with minimum care or to neglect, mistreat or abandon such animal. (d) Unsafe Tethering It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any animal to tether any animal in such manner that it may become entangled and unable to reach shelter, water or food or in such manner that the animal may be injured, strangled or otherwise caused to suffer. (e) Unsafe Transporting It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or has control of any animal to allow it to ride in or upon any motor vehicle in such a manner as to permit injury or endanger the life of such animal. This subsection shall not apply if the animal is confined to a cage or enclosure.
As you can imagine, there’s much more in the document, including fines associated with each Offense, costs ranging from $45 to $1,000. In reading other documents, I found that the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office are the people to contact in these types of situations. Their dispatch number is 303-441-4444, the Sheriff’s Office is 303-441-3650 and Animal Control Voicemail is 303-441-3626. The Nederland Police number is 303-258-3250. Depending upon the situation, they may issue a Citation or Summons and Complaint to the violator. The fees increase if there are multiple occurrences.
Anyone who knows me knows I am very adamant about animals; we are responsible for their comfort and safety among other things. In these types of situations I will first go to the people to try and resolve it in hopes they’ll change the situation. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to protect and save an animal is through the authorities. While I hope I don’t see this again, I wrote this article should you find yourself in the same situation I was in.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, PawQuatics, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.