Friday, December 05, 2008

Just a Dog

In my neighborhood, there is a backyard where a dog lives. This dog is chained to a tree seemingly at all hours of the day and night. I can only think of a time or two since these people moved to this house when I haven't seen the dog in the yard. When the tropical storm that had been Hurricane Ike passed through town? Even then, this dog was in that yard.

This yard is on the normal path that Sammie and I take every morning. Sweet Doggie (as I have come to call her) doesn't bark much, but she keeps a close eye on us as we walk by every morning, and it gets ever harder for me to just keep on going. My neighbor, Judy, used to take Sweet Doggie a treat every morning as she walked her two dogs. She bought a new collar and put it on S.D. once when she felt like her collar was too tight. The next morning, the old collar was back on, and the new one, cut into pieces, was on the curb when Judy walked by.

Judy has called Animal Control about this dog. I have called Animal Control. I believe other people have called also. Did you know that in the state of Texas, the only ordinance regarding dogs being tethered is this:

821.077. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG. (a) An owner may
not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that
unreasonably limits the dog's movement:
(1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
(2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or
(3) in the case of extreme weather conditions,
including conditions in which:
(A) the actual or effective outdoor temperature
is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit;
(B) a heat advisory has been issued by a local or
state authority or jurisdiction; or
(C) a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado
warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National
Weather Service.

But unless a member of law enforcement actually sees a dog being restrained in violation of any of these conditions, nothing can be done to enforce it. Nothing. So, what do we do? Call Animal Control every morning? It was 25 degrees here this morning.

A month or so ago, I saw a city truck at the house, and the next morning there was a large "NO TRESPASSING" sign posted on a tree next to the street. It might as well have said Screw you for caring.

Judy doesn't walk her pups down that street anymore. Sammie and I don't go that way much anymore, either.

I look at all the ways our pets have contributed to and enhanced our lives, and I cannot imagine life without them. It's been more than a year, and still, I can hardly stand to talk about Cinnamon.

Honestly? I never thought I could love another dog the way I loved Cinnamon. We are approaching the first anniversary of Sammie coming into our family, and now it seems as if she's been with us forever. She has wiggled her goofy little way into my heart, and the thought of not having her with us is inconceivable. Sammie is NOT just a dog. She is a member of our family.

Now, I know that my family is perhaps more sappy about our pets than many people, but jeez louise...why have a dog if all you're going to do is chain it to a tree and forget about it?? Sweet Doggie - and every dog - ought to have a chance to become as much a part of some family as Sammie - our very own Pound Puppy - has become.


Paige said...

This breaks my heart. I have never understood why some people get a dog if they are just going to chain it up and have nothing to do with it. It is one of those things that really gets to me. I can't fathom doing that to our little Max.

S.D. deserves better and would probably have a better chance at finding a real home if the owners would give her up. I hope she gets that chance someday.

You are sweet to care, Francis. What bothers me is that a lot of people see nothing wrong with this situation.

Kari said...

I HATE when people just leave their dogs chained up like that! I'm with you....why even have one if its just going to be back there like that. There is a dog next door to my Grandmother who is like that. Each year at Thanksgiving I look over at his big sad eyes and I want to cry knowing there is nothing I can do to help him. :( It should be against some kind of code to leave a dog chained like that!!
I hate leaving Wicket closed up in his bedroom...I can't even imagine leaving him on a chain outside!!!