UPDATE: Brooklyn Dogs Left in Cold Not Removed From Property

ASPCA claims conditions are not “ideal,” but do not “meet definition of animal cruelty as defined by the law, making seizure by the police impossible.”

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Yesterday, Life With Dogs brought you the story of two dogs that have been left outside in Brooklyn, New York during this past weekend’s blizzard on the east coast.  Today, law enforcement with the local HSUS returned to the property, but the people refused to give up their dogs.  At that time, the people couldn’t be charged with a crime to have the dogs seized, but Guardians of Rescue was also there, and took action to help out.

To see yesterday’s article, click here.

A good Samaritan and neighbor of the dogs, Evelyn Tully-Costa, posted a video to socia media of the dogs crying to be let in from the cold, and the story exploded.  It wasn’t long before angry neighbors and dog lovers that saw and shared the video started calling police, demanding something be done.

It was discovered that this is something that goes on constantly.  Tully-Costa and her neighbors told police that the dogs are never let into the house, no matter the weather.  They cry and cry, but are ignored, and left to just deal with it.  Even if someone does call the cops or goes and knocks on the door to tell the people to let their dogs in, it never lasts.  They’re let in until the people in the house think no one is looking, and then they’re immediately sent back out.

The neighbors wouldn’t be so adverse to the dogs being outside if the home owners would simply provide adequate shelter.  However, the shack provided to the dogs could hardly be seen as adequate.  There’s no insulation, or any real comfort at all, and if you have been to New York in winter, you know how unbelievably cold it can get.

Law enforcement and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) returned to the property today, along with the Guardians of Rescue.  They couldn’t convince the homeowners the give up the dogs.  They claim that the dogs need to be there for protection, and unfortunately, even though the shelter provided is less than ideal, it still is shelter.  That meant the dogs couldn’t just be removed from the property.

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According to a Facebook post by the ASPCA, “The dogs’ living conditions are not “ideal,” but do not meet the definition of animal cruelty as defined by the law, making seizure by the police impossible.”

The majority of people disagree with that statement.  The laws defining what constitutes adequate shelter are clearly stated in New York Agriculture and Markets law, Article 26, Animals, section 353-b. Appropriate shelter for dogs left outdoors:

“1. For purposes of this section: (a) “Physical condition” shall include any special medical needs of a dog due to disease, illness, injury, age or breed about which the owner or person with custody or control of the dog should reasonably be aware. (b) “Inclement weather” shall mean weather conditions that are likely to adversely affect the health or safety of the dog, including but not limited to rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme heat and cold. (c) “Dogs that are left outdoors” shall mean dogs that are outdoors in inclement weather without ready access to, or the ability to enter, a house, apartment building, office building, or any other permanent structure that complies with the standards enumerated in paragraph (b) of subdivision three of this section. 2. (a) Any person who owns or has custody or control of a dog that is left outdoors shall provide it with shelter appropriate to its breed, physical condition and the climate. Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation, punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars for a first offense, and a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars for a second and subsequent offenses. Beginning seventy-two hours after a charge of violating this section, each day that a defendant fails to correct the deficiencies in the dog shelter for a dog that he or she owns or that is in his or her custody or control and that is left outdoors, so as to bring it into compliance with the provisions of this section shall constitute a separate offense. (b) The court may, in its discretion, reduce the amount of any fine imposed for a violation of this section by the amount which the defendant proves he or she has spent providing a dog shelter or repairing an existing dog shelter so that it complies with the requirements of this section. Nothing in this paragraph shall prevent the seizure of a dog for a violation of this section pursuant to the authority granted in this article. 3. Minimum standards for determining whether shelter is appropriate to a dog’s breed, physical condition and the climate shall include: (a) For dogs that are restrained in any manner outdoors, shade by natural or artificial means to protect the dog from direct sunlight at all times when exposure to sunlight is likely to threaten the health of the dog. (b) For all dogs that are left outdoors in inclement weather, a housing facility, which must: (1) have a waterproof roof; (2) be structurally sound with insulation appropriate to local climatic conditions and sufficient to protect the dog from inclement weather; (3) be constructed to allow each dog adequate freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustments, including the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down with its limbs outstretched; and (4) allow for effective removal of excretions, other waste material; dirt and trash. The housing facility and the area immediately surrounding it shall be regularly cleaned to maintain a healthy and sanitary environment and to minimize health hazards. 4. Inadequate shelter may be indicated by the appearance of the housing facility itself, including but not limited to, size, structural soundness, evidence of crowding within the housing facility, healthful environment in the area immediately surrounding such facility, or by the appearance or physical condition of the dog. 5. Upon a finding of any violation of this section, any dog or dogs seized pursuant to the provisions of this article that have not been voluntarily surrendered by the owner or custodian or forfeited pursuant to court order shall be returned to the owner or custodian only upon proof that appropriate shelter as required by this section is being provided. 6. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect any protections afforded to dogs or other animals under any other provisions of this article.”

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The good people at Guardians of Rescue decided that they would step in and help the dogs out.  They have directly partnered with the HSUS and ASPCA in the area, and are willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the dogs safe.  They are asking the public for help in the matter, and if you’d like to find out more, you can click here to see Guardians of Rescue’s Facebook page, or click here to see their main page.

 

1.26.16 - UPDATE