If you question the care of a neighbor's animal, be proactive

Published: Dec. 13, 2016 at 6:49 PM CST
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If you see your neighbors dog or cat not being cared for in cold weather do you have a right to do something?

The answer is yes.

The Humane Society of the Black Hills says even if the animal is not yours, if you have any doubts at all that the animal may be in need of proper care or housing, make the phone call to the Humane Society or the Rapid City Police Department.

It is far better for the Humane Society or even the police department to check on the animal to make sure ordinances are followed and the animal is fine. Failure to take care of your pet especially during below freezing temperatures could lead to your pet being taken from you on top of a citation.

"Once the pet is taken from the property they can come down and talk to us." Animal Enforcement officer Tonya Sabin said, "Depending on the circumstances, if it is for educational purposes they could reclaim the animal. If it is for neglect they could receive a citation and wait to get their pet back until they go to court."

A citation is $120 unless it is a court appointed citation. Most animals that are pulled from the property carry a required court appearance which means to get your pet back, you'll have to talk tio a judge.

To avoid this, Sabin says to make sure your cat or dog, when left outside, have the essentials to survive.

"You should have a heated water bowl otherwise you are going to be changing the water three to four times a day." Sabin said "A proper dog house would shield it from the weather. Snow, rain, wind, and the cold. You want something in that doghouse like straw, a blanket or sleeping bag, something to keep it warm."

Sabin also says if it is too cold for you outside, it's too cold for your pet.

We've had to take more pets than we'd like from owners lately." Sabin said, "You have to remember, all dogs and cats are different. The short haired animals can not take as much cold as those with long hairs. It's always better to prepare on the side of caution and don't leave your pet outside all day long."