NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 5, 2014

Neighbors angry after owner left dog outside in bitter cold

SEABROOK — The definition of what constitutes cruelty to animals according to state law is being challenged by two residents, appalled by an owner who left his dog outside during recent frigid weather.

Karen Mayer and Pamela Driscoll brought their concerns to selectmen on Monday after witnessing a dog in their neighborhood remain outdoors during the region’s recent spell of bitter cold weather that had temperatures plummeting to below zero at night and hovering in the single digits during the day.

The women appealed to selectmen, saying they weren’t able to gain an acceptable result from the police, whom they called several times to report the dog’s plight.

“We’re not trying to punish anyone or take anyone’s animals away,” Mayer told selectmen. “We’re just trying to make sure these animals are treated properly. If you look around Seabrook, most people don’t leave their dogs out like this.”

According to Driscoll, she and others called police to report what she believes is cruelty to animals, due to the owner leaving the dog exposed to the elements during extreme temperatures. Driscoll said she called a veterinarian who told her that in such long cold spells, dogs can’t maintain their body temperature and that it can become dangerous.

“I was told by my neighbor this dog is always left outside in extreme weather,” Driscoll said, adding that although she was told the animal is left food and water, in such frigid temperatures, both are most likely to freeze.

The women said police told her they couldn’t do much because they can’t go on private property to check on the dog when the owner isn’t at home. Driscoll said she was told by police that the dog had been taken in, but later learned it hadn’t.

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