Last Friday we received complaints from Lowman residents regarding dogs chained outside in the cold weather behind a vacant home.
We reported that we contacted Animal Control who said it has been investigating the situation on the, at least, half-dozen animals.
Animals rights organization PETA says so far this winter, 24 animals have died from being left outside in cold temperatures and that’s just from what has been reported in the news. It believes many more are unaccounted for.
Unlike Pennsylvania, New York law does not require animals to be brought in when the outside temperature hits a certain degree. Instead, adequate shelter must be provided. The Lowman dogs have shelter, but because the investigation is ongoing, we’re unaware if the shelter meets regulations. Even if it does, the Chemung SPCA still doesn’t think that’s enough.
“If they canceled school today for children, I would think it’s the same for your animals,” Community Engagement Manager Arynn Brucie said. “You should definitely bring them inside. You can get frostbite in a matter of minutes of being outside right now with the windchill. Same for animals.”
Temperatures have dropped even lower this week, so we stopped by again Friday morning to check the home. We found even more snow on the ground compared to last week and the dogs were still howling away outside. One was even howling from inside its shelter.
Although we didn’t run into the owner this time like last, a neighbor, who didn’t want to go on camera, saw us filming and said her children cry themselves to sleep at night knowing these dogs are outside.
If the provided shelter meets state standards, the owner is not breaking the law and animal control cannot act outside the law.
Community members, who say they will speak to us in the near future, are gathering efforts to try and get the law changed, and the SPCA will jump on board.
“If someone did come to us wanting to start a movement or make a difference to bring these animals and get the state law changed, we would be all over it,” Brucie said.
Animal Control did not want to comment because it’s still an open case, but the director said it’s closely monitoring the situation.