Some things really irk the crap out of me. One of them is of coarse when people blatantly don't treat their animals right. Why else would I be doing this job? Another is when people lie to me. And in this job that happens about 90% of the time. This just happens to be a combination of what led up to yesterday.
Last week, when we had been having dramatically low temperatures, we got several different calls one morning about a dog that was being left inside a vehicle. The day time temperatures had been getting a little better, but still freaking cold. And we were also expecting rain. So I went out to the call.
The location of the vehicle was on the street in front of an apartment complex. This was one of those complexes that are notorious for all kinds of problems. Sure enough when I got there, there was a late model pickup and inside was a young dog. The dog was trying to push it's nose outside the rear window, which was open about one and a half inches. As soon as I got out of my truck one of the neighbors had come out to talk to me. She said that the dog has been there for a week in the car. The owner is around, but she didn't know where he was. Several of the neighborhood kids were also hanging around. I swear, no matter what day of the week it is or what time it is there are always tons of school age kids hanging around. A few piped up that they knew the guy who owned the dog. One girl said that she didn't think the owner fed the dog so she gave it a sandwich every morning on her way to school. I got a closer look at the dog, a little 5 month old pitbull puppy. She barked and whined and dug at the windows. All indications to me that she wanted out. The truck was a wreak. There was not only torn up truck interior, destroyed by the puppy, but all sorts of garbage piled up on the seats and floors. I saw not food or water inside and even walked to the other side to make sure nothing was on the floor. This was no way for a dog, especially a puppy to live. And it appeared she had been living in the truck for awhile.
I got on the phone and called my supervisor. He told me to go ahead and take the dog. Zero tolerance in our county for dogs left in cars.
By the time I finished my assessment the owner showed up. I guessed that one of the kids went and told him that I was there. The owner was a young guy, probably 18 or 19 years old. He looked like he had just been woken up, even though it was past noon. He admitted that this was his truck and his dog. He claimed that he was living at his cousin's house here until a few days ago when his cousin kicked him and his dog out. He said he was kind of stuck here now since he ran out gas. I told him that the dog cannot stay in the truck. That we had received multiple complaints and that the dog didn't have food and water. He said the dog isn't always in the truck and he feeds her and gives her water. I gave him a copy of the state law regarding leaving animals in unattended vehicle. He begged me not to take his dog. So I told him that he can't leave the dog in the truck. He then told me that he was going to be leaving the area this afternoon anyway after he gets some gas. Ok. So I told him that if I got anymore complaints that we will be back and take the the dog. So I left.
I think it was a day or two when we got another call, from one of the people who had called in previously. She told out dispatcher that the dog was STILL in the truck and the truck hadn't left.
So I went back out. Unfortunately it was afternoon by the time I got out there so of coarse the owner was awake and had taken the dog out. But the truck was still there. He hadn't left like he had said he was going to, and we were still getting complaints. I had a couple of the local residents come by and tell me that the dog is left in the truck overnight and the owner come about noon and gets the dog out for a little while, then it goes back in the truck for the rest of the night.
I knew that this was what was going on and the kid was full of it. So, I decided to follow through. I went back to my truck and started writing out a 48 hour pre-seizure notice. This would either scare the kid into not leaving his dog in the truck, or it would give us the full legal right to take the dog. As I was walking towards the truck with the pre-seizure in had I saw the kid, and the dog. They were headed towards the truck but stopped when he saw me. He looked right at me and turned around and quickly walked in the opposite direction, disappearing around the apartment building. This ticked me off. Then as I was taping the Seizure notice to the truck window I glanced up to see a small car go by. In the passenger seat was the kid and in the back seat the dog. He looked right at me and my truck as they passed. This ticked me off even more.
We had a officer go out the next day, the truck was still there but the dog wasn't in the truck. I had a call out at the apartment complex the day after that. Totally unrelated to the dog in the truck. I drove slowly by the truck. The windows were fogged, but I didn't see the dog. Unfortunately we still had to wait until the next day for the seizure to be valid. As I was leaving I was stopped once again by a concerned neighbor who said basically the same thing as everyone else I had talked to. Really this had to end. I had also gotten a phone message this morning from another reporting party.
The next day.
I finally got out to the truck. I was expecting the dog to not be there since it was after noon. But as I pulled up I saw that the windows where fogged, then a little dog head popped up. I parked and approached the truck. The doors were locked and windows rolled up. There was some dog food spread among the junk and garbage in the truck, but still no water. The back window was a vertical slider. There was about a inch and a half gap in the window. I tried to open the windows but they were stuck or purposely jammed.
Once again the neighborhood kids were congregating around. Several of them had obnoxious comments, not towards me but that the guy was gonna get his dog taken. Since I couldn't get the dog out I called dispatch to get assistance. Dispatch notified the Fire Department.
While waiting for the fire department, guess who shows up? Yep. The owner. One of the kids had gone to tell him I was there to take his dog. He came running towards the truck yelling at me that I was not going to F-ing take his dog. He looked in the truck, obviously checking to see if the dog was still in the truck. I told him that if he takes the dog out that I would get the sheriff out. He was mumbling, ignoring me and trying to get into the truck. He climbed into the back of the truck and was not trying to get the jammed windows apart. I called Dispatch and asked them to have sheriff respond. Since he had taken off the last time I saw him, I didn't want him to get away again. And this needed to end.
I over heard one of the kids ask him where his keys were. He told the kids that he lost them and couldn't get in the truck. Then he looked up at me, realizing I heard that. So not only is he continuing to keep the dog in the truck but he lost the keys and couldn't get the dog out anyway!
I again told him that he is not to leave with the dog, that Sheriff was on their way.
The glass that he was jerking on finally broke. He got the dog out of the cab of the truck. Dispatch was trying to get a hold of me, and it was at this moment that my radio began to fail me. This isn't the first time I have been in a situation where I need my radio and it is failing. So I am trying to respond to dispatch and trying to call my dispatcher on the phone. But apparently she is on the phone and trying to get me on the radio. Meanwhile I am also telling the kid he cannot leave with the dog, he starts coming towards me.
Just then I hear the rumble of a large vehicle and the rush of air brakes. Fire Department has arrived. The kid is now begging me to let him explain his situation. He wants me to give him another chance. That he won't do it again.
Nope. You had plenty of warnings, plenty of time. And you lied to me. Then you ran from me. Now your dog is coming with me.
Fire is standing by while I am having this discussion. The kids then said that it wasn't me that was here. He hadn't talked to me, I hadn't been the one that posted the notice. Excuse me? Would you like to see a copy of the notice with my name and badge number on it. This kid need to put down the pipe and give his brain cells a chance to survive!
He is still holding onto the dog despite me telling him that he needs to put the dog on my truck. Now he is pleading that if I take her that he doesn't have any money and he won't be able to get her back.
He doesn't have money. He doesn't have money for gas, or to bail his dog out. So if he doesn't have money how is he going to take care of this dog? If she gets sick or injured? What is he going to do? He's warm and comfortable hanging out in a friend's apartment while this dog, who he now saying is all he has in the world, is freezing her little thin coated puppy self off in his broke down piece of junk truck. He's now looking like he is about to make a move. Maybe to run. But Firefighters are standing right behind me. Then we hear sheriff sirens on their way.
Sheriff gets there and he asks if I am ok. I'm fine. I'm just here to take the dog. Deputy tells the kid to hand over the dog. He finally does and I get her loaded. Then the deputy cuffs the kid, checks his pockets and puts him in the back of the car. I thanked the firefighters for being there so quickly, but the kid had broke into his own truck. One of the firefighters frown and said he was bummed they didn't get to break something. Gotta love that. They left and another Sheriff car showed up. By now most of the neighbors had come out to see what was going on.
I got the dog loaded into my truck. the deputy again made sure I was ok. And said they would take it from there and I could go ahead and roll. I let him know that the kid had 14 days to come get his dog, he said he would let the kid know that. I saw a couple of women standing on the sidewalk across the street, one waved at me to get my attention and kind of shouted "thank you!"
I nodded to her and got in my truck and left.
Puppy now is at the shelter. She has a clean warm kennel, a fluffy clean blanket bed to sleep on and plenty of water and food. Hopefully the kid won't come get her and take her back to a life on the streets sleeping in a cold filthy junk filled truck. Hopefully she will get adopted and go to a loving home where she will be warm and cared for every night.