Last September I moved into a house on the North End. Next door a couple was moving out at the same time and spent a while cleaning out their house (I suspect hoarding as they filled several large dumpsters). While the couple and their stuff are long gone, they left two dogs, shepherd mix I think, in the yard. The owner comes by maybe once or twice a week to feed and water the dogs but other than that, the dogs are abandoned. I also feed them on a regular basis, though I doubt the owner knows about that.
Anyway, the dogs bark constantly, including all hours of the night and whenever kids are playing in the street or someone drives by. Toledo Humane Society claims they can do nothing since the dogs do not fit their definition of abused or neglected. The owner claims he visits daily and will remove the dogs just as soon as he sells the house. (Yeah right.) The dogs have visible bites all over their ears. Their hair is patchy and falling out and they are pretty darn skinny. They deserve so much better and if they were not so aggressive towards my dogs, I would have taken them in long ago.
For my own sanity (and my sleep), plus the well-being of the dogs, is there anything else that can be done? Are there other groups in the area that can help in a situation like this? Ideas anyone?
Maybe take photos of the dogs and share with the Humane Society, Planned Pethood, etc.? Maybe you've already done that.
The Toledo Humane Society has been here in person twice, both times after I requested they look into the welfare of the animals. The first time the officer let me know that he "had no case." The second time I did not receive any response.
They are considered abandon and by humane society standards, that is not part of their responsibility.
Want to get them help? Put a simple leash on them and tie them outside that neighbor fence. Then call the dog warden and report them as strays that were running around loose and you were able to get leashed and tied. They should come pick them up.
"Put a simple leash on them and tie them outside that neighbor fence. Then call the dog warden and report them as strays that were running around loose and you were able to get leashed and tied. They should come pick them up."
Not too sure about that. They are at high risk of being put down if the county picks them up, since they are aggressive towards other dogs. I'd give the owner a chance to find them new homes, if that's his intent. I know he doesn't follow most people's standards of caring for dogs, particularly if he does not feed and water them daily. But if he's dropping by at least twice per week, he's showing some concern.
If the dogs are barking throughout the night, you may want to consider calling the police, since they would be considered a nuisance and the owner could be cited. Good luck!
I contacted the Toledo Animal Shelter about this situation. Unfortunately, they cannot legally enter private property. Only the Humane Society has the authority to do so.
They recommended to work with TAHS to insure that the health and welfare of the dogs is being met by the owner.
In my opinion, I would have a serious talk with the owner. If he won't make the effort to properly care for the dogs, take them to a no-kill shelter (like TAS) to avoid potential euthanization. Time is of the essence as the weather gets colder.
I know it's a nuisance to you, but I for one appreciate your efforts to resolve this situation.
Be careful of using the term "No Kill Shelter". Sometimes all that means is that every "adoptable" animal is kept alive until adopted.
These dogs might be considered "unadoptable" due to behavior. Unadoptable animals will not be adopted due to many legal issues for the shelter and staff.
Questions that crossed my mind for WW:
1.) It's getting colder. Do these dogs have any shelter? If fur is falling out/getting patchy...these dogs are going to freeze soon.
2.) Who is picking up the dog shit in the yard? Are you hopping the fence or is the owner at least doing this? All that food and water has to go somewhere once it "passes through"...and you shouldn't have to live next to a manure factory...
I've not contacted the dog warden or similar as I'd bet with the dogs' age and temperament, they would be put down and I do not want that to happen. I've attempted to talk to the owner and he sees nothing wrong with the arrangement. He constantly has stories about someone or another moving in soon. It never happens. Did I mention this has been going on for over a year?
Oldhometown: The dogs have access to a covered porch. This is also where their food and water is stored. How their water stays unfrozen during the winter is a good question. Last winter I saw the dogs eating snow. I assume the owner picks up the droppings but I'd also assume some is eaten by rats.
The gates and fences are over my head and locked with chains. I could not jump them or remove the dogs if I tried. I give them food and water using a modified plastic coffee container tied to a rope that I toss over the fence. It's really sad.
I appreciate your efforts, WW, to help the dogs. You are very kind to ease their suffering. I agree that they would be deemed unadoptable and would probably be put down if they ended up at any shelter.
Sadly, shelters are packed to the brim and have lowered their standards regarding neglect, etc. The dog warden would likely come if you complained, but again, they would likely be put down. Perhaps calling your councilman to explain the situation may get you some ideas.
Unfortunately, dogs who have lived outside with little human contact for over a year would require some serious rehab work to become family-friendly. I'm not saying it couldn't be done; but it would require a lot of work and patience on someone's part.
Which is really the problem -- you might be able to get these dogs out of the yard somehow, but where will they go?
In any case, if our local organizations cannot (will not) help you, you could try to contact the good folks at Dogs Deserve Better http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/ . They primarily focus on situations where dogs are chained up all day long (sadly, these dogs who are fenced but are free to move around are actually living a step up from how some are forced to live); but they may have some ideas for you. On their website is a letter you can download that is meant to be given to an owner of neglected dogs. Like I said, DDB are all about getting dogs off chains, but with some language-tweaking of the letter, you might be able to start to convince your neighbor that what he is doing to these dogs is cruel. Or, DDB might have some other advice for you -- they surely get calls and e-mails from people like you on a daily basis.
This is all great information. Thank you all very much.
What type/types of dogs are these? Shepards, chows?
Shepherd mix is my best guess. I posted some photos at http://imgur.com/a/7ukZw
It's been ten days since the last post. How did this story unfold?
I crafted a letter to the owner expressing my concerns and urging him to do the right thing. I hung it in plain sight in a ziploc bag on his fence since I rarely see him at the house. That was over a week ago. The note and the dogs remain.
Contact the broadcast media so they will do a story. Hopefully, that will shame the owner into doing something. Potential adopters may also come forward to give them homes. Animal stories are big in the media because there is always such a big response from the public!
Those dogs look very sad in the photos you provided. The third photo in particular. They know they've been neglected and abandoned, for them most part.
It will be very hard to pin these animals on the owner. Mostly because he's gonna say they were dropped off there or something like that, and who is gonna spend time filing charges on him when the fine/punishment isn't that harsh.
I think you'd have better luck trying to find them a home and/or doing the dog warden thing. Yes, they might be put down, but, if they are that aggressive, what good are they going to do any owner?
At this point I think you should call the dog warden. Humane euthanasia -- if that's what it comes to -- might be better for these poor dogs than freezing to death.
I guess you could try the Humane Society one more time? Maybe go in in-person with photos and a copy of the letter you've hung on your neighbor's fence?
According to this page of Ohio Statutes, http://asci.uvm.edu/equine/law/cruelty/oh_cruel.htm (as of 2001) it was legal to enter someone's property to care for and TAKE animals that have been abandoned. If you could possibly find a home for these dogs, I guess that statute covers you from any trespassing or theft charges ... but I'd try to get ahold of a more recent version of Ohio's cruelty laws because things are being rewritten all the time and 2001 was a long time ago.
After listening to them bark all night, I caught the owner in person this morning. I politely alerted him to the note, which he took. He said he needed to get money together to put in a fence at his new house, then he'd take the dogs there, presumably to live outside.
I also researched the cruelty laws and was sad to learn that under Ohio code they are not considered neglected. Food, water and shelter (three walls and a roof) is all that is required.
this guy has been putting you off with one story or another for more than a year, I say take care of this whatever way you can. he doesn't care about these dogs or he would have got the money together long before this. I'm sorry if you getting rough means the dogs go down but you can't save them if you can't take them in your own home. This is no way for either you or the dogs to live.
A house behind me has been empty for many years. I came home yesterday to find a cat sitting in the window. There appears to be no way in or out. A few weeks ago the back door was open but now is locked. I have not seen the cat yet today, so I don't know if it's still there.
I called Steve Skutch, who is listed on ARIES as the C/O guy for Salmon Properties. He has not returned my call. I called Animal Cruelty, not much they can do.
I then reported the house as a nuisance. They said they would send someone out. How soon I don't know.
Is there anything else to do? Other than breaking a window?
I hate to say this, but you may have to break the window to get the poor thing out. I knew of a guy who was evicted from a building downtown and his two cats were locked inside. He didn't seem to care too much. He was very irresponsible. Someone called the Toledo Humane Society, but they just left a note on his door to call them, which he just ignored! Weeks later, he got back in the building. The one cat darted out the door, never to be seen again, and the other one had just died near the toilet, which had an empty bowl from which it apparenty had been drinking. Very sad. I would not wait for someone to save it. But that's just me. I would not want to encourage anyone to break the law. Are you sure no one is stopping by and feeding it?
Unburying this to provide an update:
The dogs are gone. The owner took them yesterday, presumably to his new home.
We contacted the Humane Society repeatedly, the dog warden, numerous rescue groups, the city and about every media outlet in town during the quest. I assume he was fined or something from someone as before he took his dogs he came over and cursed me out. Somehow in his mind I was wrong to get into his business where as neglecting animals is right. Mmmkay.
I can only hope the dogs have a better life wherever they are.
Thanks again for all the suggestions and support!
Glad your situation is solved. Mine is not, but I refuse to comment further on the grounds I may incriminate myself. ;)
My God, these poor dogs have been on their own in all kinds of weather for over a year?
The jerk probably removed them and dumped them somewhere to save his own worthless rear end.
There's a special place in hell for people like him.
Is this owner's first name John, and does he drive a newer gray pickup truck?
Hockeyfan, I sent you a private message.