Being the head volunteer at a local animal rescue, I received a phone call from a woman in Montreal, Canada who was communicating with her friend on Facebook about an abandoned dog on the Mexican border. After receiving an approximate location and after investigation, I found that Zoey (a name I gave her), a female American Boxer mix, wasn’t actually abandoned — she was chained up in front of a trailer. Animal Control was monitoring the situation to see if the dog was being fed. After seeing the dog, it was ridiculous to me that Animal Control would be monitoring this situation. The dog was skin and bones, was covered with open sores, and appeared to be deaf and obviously being neglected. The neighbors said she had never been off that chain, ever.
I chose not to wait for Animal Control. They have to go by the law, I don’t. In my point of view, it seems like the laws in abuse cases are there more to protect the pet owner than to protect the animal (and to allow for Animal Control inaction, if desired). Not to mention they would probably euthanize anyway. So whenever I see a situation, I rarely rely on the law to do the right thing.
A Time to Take Action
That night, I decided it was time. However, I got worried at the last minute because I didn’t know how Zoey would react to a stranger approaching her with a flashlight at night. It could be bad. So I didn’t do it.
The next night I went back and didn’t see any lights on in the owner’s trailer so I just walked right up and Zoey was in the doghouse. It was like she had no fight or life in her at all. I had to pull her out by the chain. She was very cooperative. I unhooked the chain and put her on a leash. She walked right away with me. I was worried about her barking but she was completely quiet. It was like she knew she was going to a better place.
Safe at Last and Beginning to Experience Life as a Dog Should
I took her to the vet. Her ear infection was so bad she couldn’t hear. The open sores were the result of being eaten by ants and flies. The whole area where she lived was covered with ants — ants that are big and bite hard.
I kept her for three months until she healed. Someone donated the money to have her chipped, fixed and vaccinated. Everyone at the vet clinic knew her story. While she was there, I got a call from the clinic that someone would like to adopt her. I delivered her the next day. They kept her name. They are a nice family with children and two other dogs, a Chihuahua and a Corgi mix. She has put on a few pounds. I called on Zoey about month after she was in her new home. She’s doing fine with her new family and their two other dogs. The things I miss most about not having her are watching her experience simple things like grass, trees, running in a river and just experiencing normal dog things, knowing she was doing this for the first time.
The neighbors and the woman from Montreal that initiated Zoey’s rescue still thank me today. The neighbors said it was like living next to a concentration camp.
Is There Ever a Time to Break the Law to Save an Animal?
Animal rescuers regularly wrestle with inadequate laws. Most live with the chronic frustration and try to stay within the bounds of their legal rights. Others take matters into their own hands. Is this a black and white issue? Do we have a higher moral responsibility than the law provides? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below and if you have saved an animal in need, and please share your story and photos on The Great Animal Rescue Chase website. Many of the heroes who share on our website are featured right here on Care2.com