Q: My neighbor leaves his dog tied up outside all day — in the hot sun and the freezing cold. Is there something I can do? At what point do I call the authorities?
A: St. Francis of Assisi is well-known for his advocacy for animals. He taught us to see them as God’s creatures who offer us support, friendship and companionship, and are loyal friends for life.
Many people select dogs as domestic pets because they are faithful animals, but also because they can take care of the house day and night. However, a backyard dog or a chained dog is not really “a family pet.” A whole range of negative behaviors can arise in the dog as a result of this action, such as territorial aggression, fears and destructiveness.
Your neighbor’s dog is neglected. Most states’ criminal animal cruelty statutes define a minimum standard of care, which requires that caretakers provide water, food, shelter and veterinary care.
If you witness the abuse or neglect of an animal, immediately file a complaint with your local law enforcement. Give the authorities as much detail as possible, including any notes you may have on the incident you witnessed.