Last week, a video of a skinny Great Dane named Alaska was taken by a twelve-year-old boy from Jacksonville, Fla., and went viral on Facebook, after the child sent the video to his aunt Sara Stadler in Wisconsin asking her to help him save the dog. According to reports, the boys mom, Lydia Rossow, had left the dog locked in a room for more than a week without food and water and refused to feed the pet. Since then authorities have stepped in to investigate, but the emaciated dog continues to be at home with the pet owner.
According to First Coast News, Stadler was concerned for the health of her nephew and the dog after receiving the video. The clip shows a dirty apartment and an emaciated dog. Feeling helpless by the long distance separating her from her nephew, Stadler contacted local animal groups to see if they could check on Alaska and help remove the animal if necessary. (The boy was removed from the home by his dad.)
Pet Rescue North contacted authorities and asked for a well-being check, however this was not considered an emergency and authorities did not promise to check on the dog right away. After the video was posted, Facebook users contact local authorities and their phone lines were flooded with calls. An animal control officer was dispatched to the home, but after speaking with Alaska’s owner and checking on the pet, the dog was not removed.
News 4 Jax said the A.C officer met the underweight dog, but because Alaska was alert, friendly, active, and not in any imminent danger, the dog was not taken away. The officer also spoke with a cooperating pet owner who informed authorities the dog had a history of stomach issues causing the dog to lose weight. The pet owner agreed to provided supporting paperwork in a follow up meeting, however, when investigators returned they were not able to speak with the dog’s owner nor see Alaska again.
Since then, the pet owner was issued a citation for animal neglect.
Alaska’s owners also obtained legal representation and now there is an ongoing legal case.
It is not clear if Alaska was purposely neglected or if the pet has an underlying medical issue. What is clear is that authorities are now involved and the alleged case of animal neglect against Alaska has gathered the public’s attention.