When it comes to loving your dog, is there any limit?

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Many pet owners think their pets are “priceless” but for Michael Baldwin the price tag for his beloved dog is mounting.  Baldwin has a young, neutered Siberian husky named Toby who is a very loveable dog.  However, like many huskies, he is has a bit of wild streak and wants to run free and since moving to Alaska from Maryland last year that has cost his owner dearly, to the tune of over $1800 in fines, and now possibly jail time.

Toby is a regular at the Fairbanks shelter and is well known to animal control officers, though he has never been up for adoption.  Every time he runs away he is brought in by a good samaritan, occasionally someone who offers to adopt him, and Baldwin comes and pays to get him back.  In addition to the $1800 he has also had to pay 2 citations to the city of Fairbanks (though he has been brought in there at least 6 times).

That is all small potatoes compared to the trouble that Baldwin faces now.  Alaska state troopers have charged 21 year old Baldwin with “wanton waste” after he shot a moose while trying to protect Toby.  This is a very serious charge in Alaska and carries a sentence “of not less than seven consecutive days (in jail) and a fine of not less than $2,500.”   Baldwin is trying to use the “defense of life and property” law that, in some circumstances, allows people to shoot moose, bears, wolves, coyotes or other animals if they or their property — dogs and other domestic animals being property — are in danger.  But at the time of the shooting Toby was running free and able to escape.  If he had been leashed or kennelled and unable to protect himself Baldwin might have more success with this defence.

Baldwin does have the weather on his side though, because he shot the moose in January, when the average temperature was 6 degrees, he can argue that the moose would not have rotted and that he was planning to salvage it for consumption.   Now it is up to the courts to decide his fate, and determine whether Baldwin will go to jail for loving his dog just a bit too much.


7 thoughts on “When it comes to loving your dog, is there any limit?”

  1. Toby honey you need to settle down and quit running around and getting in trouble sweetheart cause now you got daddy in trouble!!! Quit being a brat and have daddy walk you only whenever you are outside…I know I have 5 German Shepherds who are also brats but even when they are in the fenced in backyard I have to go outside with them because given a chance 2 of my males will and have jumped it!!! So now go tell daddy you’re sorry and that you will quit misbehaving honey!!! Love ya….♥

    • Um, you know you’re talking to a dog, right? Dogs aren’t brats, they act out because of something we are not providing them with.

  2. To be short and to the point, Mr. Baldwin is not the ideal pet owner. He’s still young and has plenty of opportunity to learn from his dog’s behavior that he needs to be a committed owner who is willing and able to put in the time and effort to make sure his dog is provided with basic needs. At least one of those needs is not being met…discipline. A dog needs structure and discipline to keep him balanced and safe. Proper and suffient exercise is necessary to keep a dog from being bored. It appears this dog is not getting the exercise he needs to keep him fullfilled nor is he properly restrained which allows him to escape whatever confines he is given which apparently are not adequate. Not only is this getting his owner in trouble with the law but it is detrimental to his safety and well-being. Bottom line, if Mr. Baldwin is unable to provide a safe environment for his dog as well as the necessary training and activity to keep him under control, maybe he shouldn’t have a dog. For the dog’s sake I would hope for a better owner if Mr. Baldwin is not up to the task. Commit yourself to the task or give up the dog. I’m sure there are people who would want to give him the life he wants and needs.

  3. Martie your obviously not familiar with the huskey breed they are to smart for their own good and escape anything you can confine them in. They also have the energy to out wait owners watching them. Mr Baldwin I feel your pain. My is always figuring out how to escape but thank god my back up plan has a back up plan. Good luck and never give up on your family member. Some kids are unruly but we don’t blame the parents. Geeeez

  4. We also have a dog who was quite an escape artist. Finally, a $10,000 8 foot tall wooden fence – totally smooth on the inside has ended her escapes. We do walk the fence frequently to check for any attempts at digging – just in case. While we were waiting to make the change in fences, we did put a harness and backpack on her – then put 3 filled water bottles in each side pack. She wore the pack whenever she was outside as it threw her just enough off balance that she could no longer climb or jump the existing 6 foot fence. She is a 50 pound Australian Shepherd.

    I hope you find a workable answer to keep your dog from wandering to prevent serious injury or even death due to being out and about unprotected.


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