My neighbors are not animal lovers. They are barely people lovers based on the fact that the new wife decided to change the 2-year old son's name because she didn't like it. The boy's sister told me about the name change situation. (The first wife died mysteriously weeks after we moved into the house.)
The first dogs they had were black two cocker spaniel mixes. They were not well-cared for and allowed to roam around the neighborhood. I played with them and talked to them and gave them treats when the neighbors weren't looking. One day they disappeared.
The second dog was a champagne-colored miniature poodle. The woman proudly told me when they got the puppy that she paid $250 for her. I knew the moment I saw the poor animal that this situation would not end well. But I hoped in my heart that they would take care of her since they spent a lot of money for her. She was a cute, active little dog. She was never groomed and from what I could see they didn't feed her regularly. She spent the days inside when the husband was at work - I figured out that he's the problem - but was outside for a minimum of twelve hours a day and longer on weekends when the asshole was home. I fed her often, gave her treats and talked to her all the time when I was in the backyard with my dogs which is very often. It was obvious she was so needy for attention and affection. Poodles are very smart and very people-oriented dogs so all of this was just eating away at me.
They had the dog for around six months when the disaster I foresaw occurred. I was in the yard with my dogs and they had their back door open and I heard the most awful squealing and whining from inside the house. I just prayed that the little poodle was okay. I did not see her for three days. I looked for her everytime I was outside. I feared that she had died. On the fourth day, a Friday, I saw her again. And she was limping around with fucking silver electrical tape wrapped around her front right paw. There really are no words to explain the anger and disgust I felt when I saw her.
I put my dogs in the house and marched in a fury over there and banged on their door. The new wife answered. I asked what had happened to the puppy. She told me that the dog had fallen off the sofa and hurt her leg. I could tell she was lying. I just knew the husband either threw her or stepped on her. I told her that the dog needed immediate medical attention because I was almost positive she had a broken leg and if it was not treated immediately could cause long-term problems for the dog. I also told her that the ELECTRICAL TAPE was not a cure for a broken leg. (My politeness began slipping here.) She told me that they did not have the money to take her to the vet. I told her that she had a responsibility BY LAW (stressed that one) to get help for the dog. I would do whatever needed to be done for the dog because she could not continue to live IN PAIN and with ELECTRICAL TAPE (pretense of politeness gone at this point) on her badly injured leg. She told me that they would take her to the vet in the next day or two. I offered again to take the dog and get her help but she said they would take care of it.
I fumed all that night and worried. I watched an episode of Animal Precinct and they happened to have a dog with a broken leg featured on the show. Some asshole put electrical tape on the dog's leg. One of the animal investigators asked the other one, "Did they think the electrical was really going to help?" I yelled at the TV, "Thank you! What the fuck is up with the electrical tape?"
The next morning the poor little thing was in the yard again limping around but with no electrical tape. I could only imagine the pain they put her throught to take the tape off. The pinheads were in their front yard so I went out there in a huff and confronted them again. This time the husband and children were around. I felt bad about this happening in front of the children but my first concern was the poor dog.
I told the lady that I was sure the dog had a broken leg. I again offered to take the dog to my vet to get it help. I told her that I knew some vets took emergency cases for free but if I couldn't work that out, I would pay whatever it took to get the dog's leg fixed. She wanted to know if I took the dog would she get it back. (I wanted to say, "No way in hell, stupid shithead.") I answered that whoever cared for her would have to look at the overall condition of the dog and the extent of the injury and they would decide if she could have her back. Without saying it out directly, I made it clear that I knew the dog was mistreated. She told me that they spent $250 for the dog and she didn't want to just give her away. I lost my patience then and said, "If you were willing to pay $250 for her, then you should've been prepared to take care of her no matter what and you have a legal responsibility to get her medical attention now. If you can't do that, then let me take her because I am prepared to make sure that she gets the care she NEEDS & DESERVES."
The husband does not speak English very well. During our conversation, he had skulked in the house and the wife would tell him things in Spanish. I couldn't see him during most of the discussion but after my last heated outburst, he said something to her. She asked him in English, "Are you sure?" She walked inside and came back with the dog and put it in my arms. I told her with barely contained venom that no living thing deserved to be in pain for days and that she was doing the right thing by letting me get it medical attention. Five minutes after this happend, the family piled into their car and left.
The minute she put the dog in my arms, I could tell she was underweight. It was hard to know for sure before this because she was so fluffy. I found a vet that takes on cases such as these. They were appalled at her condition and had to do two operations to stretch the muscles around the bones and reset her leg. They said the condition of her leg was consistent with my belief that she was injured 4 days earlier. They found her a good home and during the last conversation I had with them about Maya - the name they gave her - they told me she would only be going outside for potty breaks which is what a little dog like that deserves.
I found out the next week from the little girl next door that the father threw the dog. The truth from the mouth of a five-year old. The issue came up because she asked me when her doggie would be coming home. I debated on how to answer her but decided that I needed to be gently honest about what happened. I told her that dogs cannot live in houses where they get hurt. That's when she told me about the father. I also told her that dogs with broken legs are special and need special care and she was someplace with people who knew how to take care of her. She seemed relieved and happy with my answer and we've actually become buddies.
Sorry this is so long. I had no idea I would vent so much about this.
The third dog was a mixed breed. She looked like a mix between a chow and German Shepherd. A male relative was living with the family and he seemed to be main caretaker. At first, I was genuinely hopeful about the situation. He spent time with the puppy and played with her. I think he travels and when he wasn't around, no one else cared for the dog except to feed her. I talked to her, petted her and gave her treats. She was always outside and slept in a metal shed. I made sure she had food and water and she did regularly at first. But as I saw less of the relative over the last couple months, their care for the dog faltered. I began to feed her regularly. She was in their backyard for days at a time with no human attention except for me and Juannie. It made me sick. She was so cute and so sweet!
Yesterday, Juannie saw her out in the front yard by herself. He brought her into our backyard and put her over the fence. He went outside in front ten minutes later and she was running around again. He was on his way to work but saw the wife in their front yard so he felt okay about leaving. He called to tell me all this so I knew to be on the lookout for her when I got home. I haven't seen her at all. Not last night and not this morning. I walked around the neighborhood last night with my dogs looking for her. I guess she ran away. I can't say that I blame her. I am so afraid that she got hit by a car or she got picked up by someone who will use her as bait for fighting dogs. (They just did a story on the local news about dogfighting rings in New Orleans.)
I feel so guilty and she wasn't even my dog. I hope she's okay. (Now I'm a little teary.) I know that lots of people think that animals are disposable. I don't feel that way - obviously. I really want to call animal control if they ever get another dog. But will animal control take a dog away simply based on someone's story about prior abuse and neglect? I need to find out because I can't watch another animal be treated this way by them again.