In Van Buren County, MI, chaining a dog to a tree during ferocious snow storms may not be considered to be the best treatment of the animal, but as long as it has access to food, non-frozen water, and adequate shelter, authorities say that it is not illegal and they cannot intervene.
Such is the plight of Chewy, a small mixed-breed mutt who has been left outside as eight to 10 inches of snow fell and temperatures fell to 19 degrees, and one woman will stop at nothing to get the laws changed on his behalf, the Kalamazoo Gazette reports.
Chewy’s neighbor, LuAnn Arebalos-Portuondo, has worked tirelessly for weeks to get authorities to help, but to no avail.
She has, however, managed to unite dog lovers from around the world into action on social media by posting photos of the poor pooch enduring the freezing cold while tied to a tree to a page called Dogs Deserve Better.
According to Katie Timber, director of the SPCA of Southwest Michigan, Chewy’s owners said they take him in at night. Katie admits that because her organization is local and non-profit, they have no authority, but she offered to be a resource to the family in case they no longer want the dog.
“I can see everything from my house,” LuAnn told the Gazette. “I told [officers] the dog is going to die.”
But she refuses to give up until lawmakers make a change for Chewy and other dogs like him. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to watch LuAnn discussing Chewy’s plight with local reporters.
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Dog lovers from as far away as South Africa are responding with outrage over Chewy's living conditions that local authorities have deemed "adequate."
"There are people who are animal lovers, God love them, who can't see past their own vision," Jerry Schuman, kennel manager at the Van Buren County Animal Shelter, told the Gazette of LuAnn and her supporters.
"I can't argue with them," he said, "because (chaining a dog to a tree in the snow) is not the way I would treat my dog. But that doesn't make it illegal."
LuAnn, who has seen Chewy outside during rain, inadequate water and no shelter from the cold, refuses to give up. She plans to visit the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners and urge them to make a change to the laws.
She and her husband have even built Chewy a doghouse and delivered it, along with food dishes and a toy, to their neighbors.
The SPCA also delivered one to the owners. Pictured is director Katie Timber and her daughter, Meadow working on a doghouse for the "Cold Noses, Warm Hearts" program.
"I am an advocate for these types of dogs. I don't understand why your Animal Control in Michigan hasn't done anything," Ohio resident Dotty Podiak, who saw the story online, said to the Gazette.
"If you don't want the dog, you should give the dog to someone who would care for it. My service dogs stay inside," Dotty said of the owners. "This is total animal cruelty."
Recently, Chewy got loose from his chains and ran into LuAnn's yard before heading down the road. LuAnn's husband took a video of the incident and uploaded it online.
"I said I've had it. I have tried to be nice, to be polite," said LuAnn, "and now they're getting hammered." Authorities say they will continue to monitor Chewy.
Please SHARE the story of Chewy with everyone you know!
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