16 Feb 14

Tie-Out Demostration & Press Co ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com

On another cold and snowy night here on LI, my dog does not stay outside too long – as much as he loves the snow – he is out no more than 5 minutes.  So I can’t imagine being inside a warm home and having my dog tied up on a horribly inhumane heavy chain that limits the space he can walk around, a rickety dog house, or even worse an open wire crate for him and a frozen water bowl in these below freezing temperatures.  Yet one of Long Island’s dirty secrets is that this very prevelant here – and there is no reason for it.  There are tremendous rescue groups who go into to neighborhoods across LI and in a non-judgemental way – help the dogs, and educate the owners, provide proper dog houses, straw, light weight humane ties outs, food, water and help teach the owners to bring the dogs in when it is really really cold.  Many even provide veterinary care for the pets.  If it were not for these rescue groups like, Almost Home Rescue & Adoption, Unchained NY, Guardians of Rescue, Break the Chain and others – many dogs would definitely be dead this winter due to freezing to death.

As you read this and your dog is snuggle at your feet or in one of their many comfy cozy dog beds, (my dog has 3 different beds!),  I bet you can not imagine that this happens in many areas on LI.  Some of it can be lack of education on the owners part (I know what you’re thinking!), some of it is cultural i.e. the owners are first generation immigrants and that is how they kept their dogs in their countries and don’t know any better, and a lot of it is plain ingorance and animal abuse.

This past Friday, on Valentine’s day nearly 100 people showed up at Blydenburgh County Dog Park in Hauppuage, NY to bring awareness to this problem and to draw attention that not enough is being done by local and state law to protect animals from being left outdoors.  The event was organized by Linda Klampfl and her team at Almost Home Rescue & Adoption Inc. of LI and quickly many other rescue groups who work day in and out in the frigid temps to help LI’s chained dogs also joined in on the protest and press conference.

Photo courtesy of Almost Home.

If you read the NYS Argicutliture and Markets law Appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors, it states:

Any person who owns or has custody or control of a dog that is
  left outdoors shall provide it with shelter appropriate  to  its  breed,
  physical  condition  and  the climate. Any person who knowingly violates
  the  provisions  of  this  section  shall  be  guilty  of  a  violation,
  punishable  by  a  fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one
  hundred dollars for a first offense, and a fine of  not  less  than  one
  hundred dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars for a second and
  subsequent  offenses.  Beginning  seventy-two  hours  after  a charge of
  violating this section, each day that a defendant fails to  correct  the
  deficiencies in the dog shelter for a dog that he or she owns or that is
  in  his  or  her  custody or control and that is left outdoors, so as to
  bring it into compliance with  the  provisions  of  this  section  shall
  constitute a separate offense.

First how crappy a $50 fine for the 1st offense? 2nd, 72 hours they have to correct it.  Think about how cold it is outside with all that snow on the ground?

For all dogs that  are  left  outdoors  in  inclement  weather,  a
  housing  facility,  which  must:  (1)  have  a  waterproof  roof; (2) be
  structurally  sound  with  insulation  appropriate  to  local   climatic
  conditions and sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather; (3)
  be  constructed  to  allow each dog adequate freedom of movement to make
  normal postural adjustments, including the ability  to  stand  up,  turn
  around  and  lie  down  with  its  limbs outstretched; and (4) allow for
  effective removal of excretions, other waste material; dirt  and  trash.
  The  housing  facility  and the area immediately surrounding it shall be
  regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and  to
  minimize health hazards.
    4.  Inadequate  shelter  may  be  indicated  by  the appearance of the
  housing facility itself, including but not limited to, size,  structural
  soundness,  evidence  of crowding within the housing facility, healthful
  environment in the area immediately surrounding such facility, or by the
  appearance or physical condition of the dog.
    5. Upon a finding of any violation of this section, any  dog  or  dogs
  seized  pursuant  to  the  provisions of this article that have not been
  voluntarily surrendered by the owner or custodian or forfeited  pursuant
  to  court  order  shall  be returned to the owner or custodian only upon
   proof that appropriate shelter as required  by  this  section  is  being provided.

In this day and age, I think the state can come up with a much better law to protect companion animals such as our pets. Or wait how about some free education – or way to help the dogs, owners, etc. like the rescue groups are doing?

I remember watching Animal Planet’s ‘Animal Cops’ and so many times the ASPCA officer’s hands were tied to making an arrest or taking action, because the owner was in within the limit of the NYS law – but the pet was clearly neglected or suffering.  When asked about support from officials about the laws, many of the rescue groups in Suffolk county said they sure feel the lack of support from goverment animal organizations.

Linda Klampfl of Almost Home said, “The two key points is that we need stronger, more specific laws and we need an organization who will enforce it. The Suffolk County Police Department tells us to call the Suffolk County SPCA because there is nothing they (SPCD) can do.  But the SPCA does NOTHING to prosecute owners or enforce the laws.”

Klampfl went on to say, “A lawsuit will be in the works if against against both the SPCD and Suffolk County SPCA if nothing changes.”  They already have an attorney working with them.

Photo Credit: Unchained NY

While it may be tough to overturn or change the state law, it might be time for Suffolk County officials to step up and really look what is going on to animals here in their own backyard.  There have been so many animal abuse cases in the past few months, it is really disheartening, sickening and to see pets left out in the cold 24/7 in this extreme cold and snow we have been having it just awful.  It’s understood that some pet owners don’t have a fence and need to tie out a dog in their yard for a limited time to take care of business, this is not what the protest was about.  Dogs of all shapes and sizes are left outside with no adequate shelter, no clean water (or it’s frozen), no food, and inhumane heavy chains – this my friends is actually illegal.
The help the rescue groups give to the dogs is amazing, but the education and non-judgemental way many of them approach the owners of the dog make a big difference.  Many owners are very proud of their dogs, but have never learned a better way that to care for their pets or what they are doing is illegal.  For the average dog owner that may be hard to understand – but it is true.  These rescue groups help in many ways, and more often the dogs are brought inside by the owners when it is cold or way too hot out – and by education learn how to properly care for their pets.  But their is a long long way to go.  Hopefully this will be the step in the right direction to help change the law or at the very least enforce the exisiting laws.
And if you’re curious, here is more from NYS Ag & Markets laws concerning pets and animals.

Photo credit, Almost Home Rescue & Adoption, Inc.

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